Big Ben & Baby Ben contain radium?

Joecephus

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I came across two old alarm clocks, a Big Ben and Baby Ben I really like the looks of them, especially the Big Ben. I believe it is from the 40's. It keeps perfect time. But a friend of mine recently saw them and about freaked out and said that they both have radium dials and are very dangerous to have in my bedroom, and recommended that I remove them from the house completely. Do I have anything to worry about? Or is this just an over reaction? The clocks are in great shape, including the crystal or glass. IMG_20210729_140704899.jpg IMG_20210729_140654058.jpg
 

bruce linde

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me, three. :)
 

Schatznut

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Your friend is more dangerous than both these clocks put together.
 
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Schatznut

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... and when you reform the foil on your head, you should be able to hear other radium stations.
 

bruce linde

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Your friend is more dangerous than both these clocks put together.

that's no way to talk about someone's mom! :)

seriously.... better safe than sorry. always good to ask.

speaking of mom's, mine was a civilian member of a senate commission looking at EMFs and trying to determine whether they were indeed responsible for cancer pockets from transmission towers near schools, whether one should or should not hold their mobile phones to their ears when talking, etc. let's just say that our family practices the recommended 'prudent avoidance'.

of course, since she's a mom, that doesn't stop her from asking me every single time we talk if i use a headset when i'm on my mobile. :)
 

Schatznut

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And whammo, you get hit with the classic Mom guilt trip...
 

Salsagev

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I personally won’t collect these clocks for the sake of keeping my collection “nice” and “curated”, so I don’t worry about the radium. The one I had had both springs snapped, case damage, and cracked glass, so I gave it to Goodwill…

But, I’m still scared of radium. The stuff said above is most likely true.
 

Joecephus

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I don't mind people joking around. But it would be nice to get some serious answers. For example, I've heard that these dials can give off radon & gamma ray's. Any truth in that? I'm starting to think if I want real answers I'll have to look elsewhere.
 
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JTD

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if I want real answers I'll have to look elsewhere.
Apart from one or two facetious replies, you have got real answers. In normal use these clocks are not dangerous, as many have said.

JTD
 

novicetimekeeper

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If they have radium painted dials, which is likely if they are between the wars, then yes they do emit gamma and the radium decays to produce radon gas.

However what is said above is also true. The people who collect large numbers of them and the people who work on them have some reasons for concern, but having one, or even two, in your house is not really an issue.
 

Schatznut

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I don't mind people joking around. But it would be nice to get some serious answers. For example, I've heard that these dials can give off radon & gamma ray's. Any truth in that? I'm starting to think if I want real answers I'll have to look elsewhere.
Go to Wikipedia. Look up "radium." Especially read the section headed "Luminescent paint."

The serious answers you seek are there. You just need to invest the time and effort to find them.
 

Willie X

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If you are that worried about them. Just send them to the land fill. Easy peezy. Willie X
 
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FDelGreco

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Many of us have worn wristwatches with radium painted dials all our lives and we can still walk and chew gum at the same time. Nothing to worry about.

Frank
 
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novicetimekeeper

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Many of us have worn wristwatches with radium painted dials all our lives and we can still walk and chew gum at the same time. Nothing to worry about.

Frank

One of the previous Physics advisers to CLEAPSS, the organisation responsible for advising on Health & Safety in School Science in England and Wales, gave his wrist watch to his employers when he retired. This reverse of the usual retirement gift of a gold watch was because he had used it in training courses on handling radioactive sources for decades and he thought his successor could use it.
 

shutterbug

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The major radium risk for painted hands was with the poor women who were doing the painting. They were instructed to keep the brush tip nicely pointed by using their mouth to shape it. The repetitious introduction of radium to their mouths and throats caused many of them to develop cancer, and they died young.
Simply having radium painted hands in a clock or watch is not going to expose you to much danger. But you can certainly see why it creates concern among many.
 

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