Not too long ago I wrote about the Chemistry Set as an endangered species. This seemed to hit a resonant chord among the readers of the blog with a notable exception [You know who you are Clintus.] Thorazine, commenter #38 asked if anyone remembered the Perfect brand. I remember going into one the the early strip malls in Peoria, Illinois (Sheridan Village) as a child and looking at the Perfect displays. I can’t remember which store although I think it was a bookstore. I used to look longingly at the gear, although most of it was way too expensive for my meager budget.

Shopping around Champaign, I was looking for some brass metal strips and stopped in at Slot and Wing Hobbies, Inc. (803 W Anthony Drive, Champaign, IL 61822 (217) 359-1909). In the aisle, along with a myriad of motors, tools and model parts, I was astonished to find a Perfect Laboratory Apparatus and Chemical display. True, it had seen better days and the phenopthalien solution bottles on sale were dust dry, but there were the rows of small bottles I fondly remembered from my Gilbert chemistry set.

Perfect Chemicals

The two part display had glassware on the left with pictures of flasks, tubes and bottles; and the right display was the apparatus: tongs, clamps, clay triangles, and Bunsen burners. They had four Bunsen burners and a couple of alcohol lamps. Also quite a few bags of lamp wicks. For your viewing and reminiscing pleasure:

Perfect Chemicals Display
Perfect Apparatus Display Perfect Glass Items
Perfect Lab Items Rocket Motors

The last photo on the bottom right is of a display of Estes model rocket motors, of which they also had a significant number. Apparently model rocketry is also rapidly becoming endangered. I asked whether they were under any constraints with respect to selling rocket motors (as in “terrists” shooting down planes with home made missiles). They can sell but cannot ship — go figure.

The proprietor is Mark Thompson. I suspect that if you made him an offer you could obtain the entire display and its contents. Unfortunately, the display didn’t have any potassium carbonate. [Many thanks for commenter suggestions as to where to obtain some.]