Now Suzannah Lipscomb explores the hidden killers of the post World War II home. Britain was traumatized after World War II that they wanted to make sure their homes were a safe place. Home owners created colorful home in order to capture the hopeful spirit of the age. However in trying to create a safe haven they introduced new dangers into the home.
The first hidden killer in the home was found in the child's bedroom and it was the chemistry set. For the first time, children could have their own bedrooms and they had their special toys they could keep in the bedroom. There were few instructions that came with the set and there were a variety of chemicals that came with it. Mixing chemicals together caused a variety of explosions and hurt children. Test tubes were flimsy. There was no mention of how to dispose of chemicals. The only advice that was given in case clothing caught on fire. The American chemistry set came with uranium and a Geiger counter and allowed children to experiment with radiation. However it wasn't a big seller. This hidden killer was done away with when manufacturers stopped including explosive chemicals in their sets.
The second hidden killer was plastic. Plastics became cheaper to manufacture in the 1950's. Sofas were made from Polyurethane. However, these sofas would catch on fire due to the smoking habit people had during the post war. One couple escaped their home through a window and down sheets. Their settee had caught on fire. Polyurethane also gave off toxic fumes when on fire which could kill you sooner than the flames could. Plastic clothing was also a killer, especially if they caught on fire. If someone was standing in front of the fire, the clothing could catch on fire and burn a person.
The third killer was something that we take for granted: television set. TV's were in their experimental stages during this time and could easily catch on fire. As the technology became better, then this hazard went away.
The fourth hidden killer was DIY, Do It Your Self people. The 1950's became the Do-It-Your-Self generation. Handymen were busy with rebuilding Britain after the war, so the homeowner decided to do repairs and fixing themselves. TV encouraged that families could get together and knock down a wall and fix up the home. There was an enormous range of DIY projects that the family could do together. However, there were perils to doing things yourself, such as electrical work. Many people did not know what they were doing, unlike the professionals. The public were soon advised that when in doubt they should hire professionals.
To continue to learn more about the hidden killers of the post war home continue to watching the episode. Hint, the next hidden killer was found in the kitchen and how the abundance of food gave people ideas on what to do with it. The final hidden killer was found in the bathroom.
This is a fun documentary that should be used in the classroom, especially for a brain break. However, if you have a sub in the classroom there will be questions provided.
You can highlight, copy, and paste the questions into a Word, GoogleDoc or Google Classroom document for use in school or home school. Format it the way you want to. All questions after formatting should fit onto one page.
You can access the video here.
Hidden Killers of the Post War Home Questions
1. About how many people made up the British Middle class?
2. What was the first hidden killer?
3. What was the child supposed to do if his friend caught on fire?
4. What was included in American chemistry set?
5. What allowed products to be produced cheaper?
6. How did sofa's catch on fire? .
7. Was plastic flammable? What made plastic flammable?
8. What could catch on fire and cause burns?
9. Which sex did this affect more, boys or girls?
10. What was designed to look like furniture?
Hidden Killers of the Post War Home Answers
1. About how many people made up the British Middle class? - 15-20 Million
2. What was the first hidden killer? - Chemistry set
3. What was the child supposed to do if his friend caught on fire? Throw him to the floor and smother the fire
4. What was included in American chemistry set? - uranium and a mini Geiger counter
5. What allowed products to be produced cheaper? - Plastics
6. How did sofa's catch on fire? Due to smoking
7. Was plastic flammable? What made plastic flammable? On it's own not, the additives that were put in plastic that made it flammable
8. What could catch on fire and cause burns? Clothing
9. Which sex did this affect more, boys or girls? - Girls
10. What was designed to look like furniture? Television
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