Steampunk radiation hazard

Posted by on Nov 12, 2012 in Videos | 12 comments

Steampunk radiation hazard

Creating jewelry with old clock and watch parts is a fun art form, but one must be aware that old watch and clock faces and hands are sometimes coated with radium paint. The radiation levels measured here are not particularly dangerous UNLESS this radium coating falls of and gets inhaled or swallowed. Then some unlucky internal organ will get a constant close-up dose of radiation. Not so good. If you’re going to be disassembling old clocks to harvest gears and other parts, please consider borrowing or buying a radiation meter for your safety and that of the people who buy your steampunk creations.
Video Rating: 4 / 5



  1. The decay of radium and its daughters produces primarily alpha and beta particles, so ordinary glass should be sufficient to stop most of it.

  2. I think it would need to be leaded glass

  3. Not all. Just those who used to wipe the paintbrush head with their lips. They were not told that the luminescent paint was toxic or radioactive.

  4. I’ve heard that the workers that used to paint the clocks all died from mouth cancer, (needs cite)

  5. :
    Yes, pretty much. There will still be measurable radiation outside the glass but at least you won’t be inhaling or swallowing flakes of radium paint. Just don’t sleep with it. ;-)

  6. If the glass is still covering the face of the watch, is it okay?

  7. No that’s not a stupid question, it’s an honest question. :-)

    The main hazard is from getting bits of this inside you, so theoretically if it was coated with lacquer or something it would be a lot safer.

    I can’t recommend this however because it still involves handling the pieces. It’s really only the hands and face of the clock that have the radium paint on them, so there are still lots of interesting looking parts to use for decoration.

  8. this is probably a stupid question but can the pieces still be used somehow if….maybe coated with some sort of sealant?

  9. You can find geiger counters on Ebay. A nice older model is the CDV-700. Other models of CDV instruments have very high ranges, which aren’t that useful unless you’re measuring very dangerous levels for some silly reason.

    Ebay seller annakozub has decent new Russian-made Geiger counters. I don’t own one, but I know people who have bought these and seem happy with them.

  10. Where can you get a Geiger counter?

  11. Ja, Alphas nicht die Haut durchdringen, aber eine Alpha Einnahme Quelle ist sehr gefährlich, weil die Energie wird in einer kleinen Volumen von lebendem Gewebe.

  12. Wäre die Radioaktivität in alten/neuen Uhren wirklich so hoch wie in dem Video dargestellt würden millionen innerhalb kürzester Zeit das Zeitliche segnen, an schwerer Strahlenkrankheit leiden und/oder alle möglichen arten an Krebs haben!

    Ausserdem ist Strahlung nicht gleich Strahlung, Alpha-Strahlung dringt nicht einmal durch die Haut und hat keine große Reichweite und ich bezweifle stark das meine alte Uhr von Opa Gammastrahlen oder schlimmeres abgibt ^^