This set includes coloured balls and spring spokes in an 18-drawer metal cabinet. Each ball represents an atom of a chemical element, and can be connected to other 'atoms' by means of bonds represented by inserting the connecting spokes in holes in the balls. The number of holes in a ball represents the number of molecular bonds atoms of different elements are able to form. This is determined by an element's valency, which is dictated by the number of electrons in the outermost shell of an atom of that element.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library