The atomic age lasted through the 1950s and 1960s. It was a time of two opposite dynamics: there was the promise of unlimited power, and the threat of world destruction.

The dream Some examples of atomic optimism. Does the dog look worried?

Nuclear playtime
An atomic lab in your child’s bedroom? Why not?

5,000 miles per charge The 1958 Ford Nucleon was a prototype car that would be powered by a small nuclear reactor. Perhaps.

Built in Brussels for the 1958 World’s Fair, this is a very large model of the unit cell of an iron crystal (magnified 165 billion times). It’s 335 feet tall (102 meters).

(Photograph: Mike Cattell)

Inside the top sphere there’s a restaurant with a panoramic view of the city.

World War III
There was a very real worry that buttons might be pushed. Hence the fallout shelters all over the place.

You might want to build your own in the back garden.

It looks like fun.

Some light reading before bedtime.