If you don't find your question here, or you would like further clarification, please don't hesitate to call us on 01436 670806. We are very friendly, don't bite, and know our products.

Can I call into your shop / office / warehouse to purchase goods?

Yes. We have a fabulous shop in Helensburgh, ten miles from Loch Lomond near Glasgow. You are very welcome to pop in and view our range yourself.

Can I order over the phone?

Yes, of course! Please call 01436-670806. We don't have call queues so you should normally get right through, if we have another caller on the line you can leave your number and we'll call you back.

How do I know you're genuine and not a fake?

Look at the evidence until you're convinced:

  • The shop has been online since 2004.
  • See our About Us page. You'll see that we have substantial backgrounds in scientific programming for institutes such as NASA and for the Hubble Space Telescope.
  • Call us and talk to us. Ask us questions and try to catch us out..
  • We advertise in Focus, How It Works, and various school publications. Look in W.H Smiths.
  • We're mentioned and linked to on the Royal Society of Chemistry's website

How can I make a rainbow/spectrum?

The simplest method is to place a prism in bright sunlight, and twist and turn it to project the spectrum onto a screen (e.g. a wall or ceiling). Ideally you will be in a room, by a window, so that the wall or ceiling isn't directly illuminated by sunlight. However, if you want more control - such as not having to wait for a sunny day - you need to understand the optical process. The light source ideally needs to be narrow in one dimension, and not spreading out. You can achieve this with a lamp, followed by a slit, then a convex lens (or magnifying glass) The narrower the slit the sharper the spectrum, but less bright. Focus an image of the slit on your screen (be it a box, piece of paper, or a wall or ceiling). Then place the prism or diffraction grating in the beam and rotate it (if prism) till you get the best spectrum. Our Rainbow Spectrum kit is ideal for experimenting and learning how to do this.

What's the difference between the various prisms?

The main factors are:

A bigger prism makes the spectrum wider, but not longer.
Prisms typically are equilateral (3 sides and angles are the same) or right-angled (with two 45° angles)
Glass has a higher refractive index than acrylic, which spreads out the colours more and makes the spectrum longer. Unless stated otherwise, our prisms are glass.

One would normally use an equilateral glass prism for colour dispersion (e.g. in spectroscopes) and right-angled for light deviation, e.g. to shorten binoculars. However, the Discovery prism does a very good job of producing a spectrum in bright sunlight, and I haven't been able to tell which one is 'better' for that, though acrylic would be less susceptible to breakage.

Our Rainbow Spectrum kit contains the glass prism and some diffraction grating and a lens, light source, and instructions on how to create spectra in the absence of bright sunlight, which we highly recommend for anyone wanting to gain some insight into the colour composition of light.

Where's my stuff?

Probably at your local Royal Mail sorting office

  • At Christmas or during very bad weather (snow, flood, ...) deliveries might take longer.
  • The 1-2 working days we quote is based on the Royal Mail's guidelines for first class post. Occasionally they take a little longer.
  • Please check if your local Post Sorting Office is holding it for you. Normally the postie should leave you a note if you didn't answer the door, but occasionally they don't.
  • Please be aware that sometimes credit cards are declined, and check your bank account. If you did not receive any email from us then we probably did not receive your order.

Here are some more reasons it might not arrive.

  • We almost always send out orders the same or next BUSINESS day. If you submit your order late on Friday do NOT expect it to arrive Monday.
  • Orders may fail to arrive for any number of reasons, e.g:
    • you haven't waited long enough, even if you calculated the stated number of business days correctly - sometimes the mail takes longer, especially at Christmas.
    • you gave us the wrong address or postcode. We do NOT change it (except to add or correct the postcode), it goes through exactly as you typed it.
    • you didn't answer the door for the post/delivery man. You might not have heard the bell (you were talking/sneezing/...). They DON'T always leave a card. Check with your local sorting office.
  • Somebody in our warehouse made a mistake. Their error rate is about 0.5%, i.e. 1 in about 200 orders are wrong. When that happens we try to encourage them to not make that mistake again, but they're only human, they'll find another one...
  • We aren't answering you because we're on holiday (e.g. from Xmas eve till January 3rd). We aren't ignoring you - unless you were rude or aggressive. We WILL sort out your problem, but politeness is a wonderful lubricant! Treat us with respect and we'll do the same for you. We might even take time out of our holiday or weekend to help you!

Don't leave your Christmas shopping till the last minute - a proportion of those orders that theoretically should arrive in time, won't. One customer ordered on Christmas Eve and was upset that it didn't arrive by Christmas. No, really!

Which chemistry set /microscope / telescope / ... do you recommend?

Throughout our site you'll find pages titled 'About ...'. Visit them for our recommendations!

Where are you? And who are you?

We are located in Helensburgh, near Loch Lomond, Scotland, but we sell world-wide. We are Wendy Hamilton, a geeky mum of two who loves all things science and her team of merry helpers, and Wendy's two marvellous and much-loved boys Robbie and Jamie. Anyone of us may answer the phone when you call.

Do you sell wholesale/trade?

Yes. But only on a limited range of products. If you would like to view our wholesale range please visit: www.trade.grasshoppertoys.co.uk. Please note, you need to be a registered business and complete our terms and conditions for us to supply you on a wholesale basis. We check all applications and will require trade references and Pro forma payments, we do offer 30 day accounts to certain customers at our discretion.

Please can you send me a catalogue?

We don't have a catalogue at this time. We hope to have one soon. Until then, everything we have is on our website.

Do you ship to the US (or other country)?

Yes (probably). We are willing to ship almost anywhere (subject to government restrictions). Our website is not set up to handle delivery addresses outside the EU so if you would like to place an order you will have to email us the details and we can give you the final cost. We can then arrange a way to get your bank card details or alternate payment method.

The item you sent is wrong/damaged. How shall I return it?

PLEASE contact us first. We may be able to solve a problem, or offer a solution that obviates the need to return it, or we'll give you instructions where and how to return it (always by the cheapest method please).

I've got an xxx. Please can you tell me its value?

No. There are many factors that affect an item's value. The best way to determine it yourself is to use eBay. Go to the 'Advanced Search', type in what it is, and check the 'Completed listings' box. This will show you what items like yours have sold for, e.g. brass microscope.