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Bric-a-Brac: Chemistry Sets: Aimer (The Aimer Portalab)

(c) Emil Dudek 2011

(c) Emil Dudek 2011

(c) Emil Dudek 2011  


Size (approx):

534mm x 377mm x 237mm (max)  (w,h,d)


Stained and varnished plywood.  The top has a good sized sturdy carry handle.  There are two deeply inset doors with Perspex panels which two have copper retaining lugs each.  There is an iron latch on the top of each door and a further one that secures the front of each door.  The upper rear section holds a pull-out drawer for the longer glasswork pieces.  There are two matching, fully detachable equipment racks, one for the test tubes whilst the larger accommodates the flasks.
The labels on the bottles are hand-written - suggesting that this as not a mass-produced kit.


Wide range of chemicals, apparatus and accessories.  Suitable for experiments on general reactions, distillation, buffering, electrolysis, separation, oxidation, reduction, gaseous analysis, molar analysis, catalysts, filtration and fractional distillation (or fractioning). Conspicuous lack of retort equipment or heating tripod.


Early 1970s


Aimer Products Limited, UK, which is a currently trading long-standing family firm viewable on http://www.aimer.co.uk/


Fascinating!  There is enough in this set for GSCE [or in my day "O Level"] chemistry, though lacking in most organic chemistry components.  I am still trying to find out more information about this kit - so any information would be gladly received.  I would also be grateful to any other owners of such sets to get in touch - in order to compare contents, as I believe my example has undergone some updates, losses and changes.  Please see the warning note below.

Chemicals: This list (based on my used example) looks fairly reliable but there are 12 chemicals with their labels missing yet to be identified, three empty containers with blank labels (spares?) and one known missing chemical. Dry chemicals come in glass containers: small, medium, large, extra large and jars.  Liquids come in small and medium cork-stopped phials. Meths (methylated spirit) is stored in a very large dark glass bottle which may have originally been an acid bottle as there is no meths burner. There are some duplicates which may have been the result of ordering top-ups. My comments in [square brackets].
Aluminium Sulphate
Ammonium Carbonate
Ammonium Chloride
Ammonium Dichromate
Ammonium Nitrate
Ammonium Sulphate
Bromine Water
Calcium Carbonate
Calcium Phosphate
Carbon Tetrachloride
Chrome Alum
Cobalt Chloride
Cobalt Nitrate
Copper Carbonate
Copper Chloride
Copper Foil
Copper Nitrate
Copper Sulphate Anhydrous
Copper Turnings
Cupric Oxide
Cuprous Oxide
Ferric Chloride
Ferrous Ammonium Sulphate
Ferrous Sulphate
Ferrous Sulphide
Granite chips
Hydrogen Peroxide
Iron Filings [addition?]
Iron Filings [original?]
Iron Oxide (Magnetite)
Iron Wool
Lead Acetate
Lead Dioxide
Lead foil
Lead Nitrate
Lime Water
Magnesium Carbonate
Magnesium Oxide
Magnesium Ribbon
Magnesium Sulphate
Manganese Dioxide
Manganese Sulphate
Methylated spirits [may not be original]
Methyl Orange
Nickel Sulphate
Phosphorous (Red)
Plaster of Paris
Potash Alum
Potassium Bromide
Potassium Carbonate
Potassium Chlorate [warning-dangerous]
Potassium Chloride
Potassium Chromate
Potassium Dichromate
Potassium Ferricyanide
Potassium Ferrocyanide
Potassium Hydroxide
Potassium Iodide
Potassium Nitrate
Potassium Permanganate
Red Lead
Silver Nitrate
Sodium Acetate
Sodium Bisulphate
Sodium Chloride
Sodium Formate
Sodium Hydroxide
Sodium Nitrate
Sodium Nitrate [yes two]
Sodium Nitrite
Sodium Sulphate
Sodium Thiosulphate
Sulphur (Raw)
Tin Foil
Zinc Carbonate
Zinc Oxide
Zinc Sulphate
Warning: Some of these chemicals are quite dangerous.  If you come across this set and are not experienced in chemical experiments, please seek advice or read up on these chemicals.  Some will degrade over time with exposure to air or moisture.  A few will spontaneously explode if mixed or are in a decayed state, some are very poisonous or carcinogenic - you have been warned!

Glassware: This list is based on my example, and judging by the different style of just the Pyrex logos, it looks like there are a lot of additions or replacements.
Round bottom flask - 100ml
Round bottom flask - 25ml
3 x Measuring beakers - 50ml
Flat bottom round flask - 100ml
Gas Jar and ground glass lid
Volumetric flask with ground glass stopper - 100ml
Circular glass trough
Round bottomed Fractionating flask
4 x long glass tubes
Long glass tube double 120? bends
Medium glass tube double 120? bends
Medium glass tube double 90?/120? bends
Medium glass tube 90? bend
Medium glass tube 60? bend
2 x short glass tubes 120? bends
6 x small test tubes
6 x standard test tubes
Inlet/outlet flask kit:
 - rubber bung
 - thistle shaped glass funnel
 - medium glass tube 90? bend
Burette with glass stop-cock - 10ml
Large graduated pipette - 10ml
Small pipette
Water cooled distillation kit:
 - double walled glass tube
 - interconnecting rubber tubes
 - straight glass funnel
 - large bore glass tube outlet
Gas reaction pass-over tube:
 - long glass tube, with bungs, inlet/outlet glass tubes and filters either end
 - small ceramic boat
 - additional large ceramic boat

Equipment: Again, may not be all original and there may be some losses.
Small Bunsen burner
Standard Bunsen burner
Thermometer - 0 to 220?
Rubber tube clamp
China crucible and lid
Block of pumice stone (?)
Wooden test tube rack
Wood equipment rack
Lighter splints
Nichrome wire with glass handle
Numerous cork and rubber bungs - with and without holes
Metal test tube holder
Metal test tube tweezers
Pipe cleaner
Blue glass plate

(c) Aimer Products Ltd. 2011 Leaflet scan is supplied, and by the very kind permission of, Aimer Products Ltd. inc J.A. Winward & Sons, (hereon Aimer), and is copyright Aimer, 2011.  Further dissemination of this image is not allowed without the express written permission from Aimer.

Please note that Aimer is a completely independent company and the presence of this item on this website is not to be considered an endorsement of this website. Reproduction has been allowed purely for the historical importance of the information, and there are no other links, commercial or otherwise, between Aimer and the author of Vintage-technology.info.

How kind of Aimer to dig through their archive and supply this leaflet?  It is very much appreciated and in the spirit of this website's goals. As a personal comment: if they treat their customers as well as they treat a random question from a non-commercial site like this I am sure they have a very happy client base.

Clearly my example is missing quite a bit of kit (retort stand and clamps and quite a few chemicals) and clearly some bits have been added (dark bottle of meths et al), as you would expect over the last 40 years.

What a great idea though! A compact portable kit that could get any interested kid through O level chemistry.


The only example on the web!