This is one of 1122 articles in my book Now and Then Again, The Way We Were and the Way We Are, second edition. The book is available from Amazon for $20.95 print and $9.95 Kindle and also as an ebook from Apple, Kobo, and Scribd for $9.95. It’s fixed format so it’s better with a tablet, laptop, or computer. There are more articles from the book on another blog here. And there is a book preview website .
Lux et Veritas
In the Jewelers’ Circular, August 7, 1918 is an ad for paint for glow-in-the-dark watch dials.
Luma Radium Luminous Compound
We absolutely guarantee that only radium is used to activate Luma, no mesothorium, radiothorium, ionium (1), nor polonium being added.
Radium paint was used for glow-in-the dark watch dials. The radium was mixed with zinc sulfide which glows from the radioactive particles the radium emits.
The United States Radium Corporation set up shop in 1917 in Orange, New Jersey. It employed women to paint watch dial numbers with their radium paint brand, Undark (which did have mesothorium added). In addition to watches, U.S. Radium had a contract to paint instrument dials for the U.S. Army in World War I.
The women were told to point the brushes with their lips for the delicate task. In the process, they ingested small amounts of radium. Continue reading