The X-Ray Machine

January 18th Celebrates The X-Ray Machine

Today on Days to Remember we celebrate how on January 18th 1896, the x-ray machine was exhibited for the first time.

Thanks to years of research and development by many scientists and engineers, the X-ray machine was formally displayed by HL Smith on January 18, 1896.

Before demonstrating the x ray machine by HL Smith he conducted experiments in radiology known to his students as Professor Henry Louis Smith.
However when the first X ray machine came out it mostly consisted of tubing, and what HL Smith showed to the public was a gun shut wound inside a human hand, but in the 1940s and 1950s.

The X-ray machines were used as a marketing tool to sell shoes. Pitched as a way to get a perfect fit, fluoroscopes were used by shoe retailers.
As information on the harmful effects of X-ray radiation became more commonplace, fluoroscopes fell out of fashion.

In 1957, Pennsylvania became the first US state to ban use of X-rays for shoe fitting.

Todays YouTube video presentation shows you a little demonstration how an X-Ray Machine works on the human body, shared by user name Ted-Ed, as we celebrate the first exhibited to the public on January 18, 1896.

I collected some interesting facts about the history of x-rays to share with you today.

Did you know, barium is a key tool for radiology and radiography? It was discovered in 1808 by Sir Humphry Davy, an English chemist. It was later found to be a good absorber of x-rays and is still used to this day to help develop accurate x-rays.

Nikola Tesla was such as brilliant inventor, he helped invent things such as electrical generators, radio, remote controls, and more. He was even rumored to have lit 200 light bulbs from over 26 miles away. But in radiology terms it was his invention of Tesla units, or how we measure magnetic images, in the late 1800’s that he makes this list and an important step in medical imaging.

By now, x-ray technology was focused on detecting small items inside people. However in 1979, the technology was turned towards larger targets. This was when NASA launched its Chandra X-ray, which uses the technology to take amazing images of outer space. It continues to operate today, and visitors to the NASA website can see loads of images.

Where would be without the x-ray machine?

Is human tissue the limits of x-ray technology? Absolutely not!

Earlier this year, a camera that uses x-ray technology was revealed to have an unprecedented speed of 4.5 million frames per second. To put that into perspective, HD captures 24 frames per second. The invention is intended to shed new light on the structure of matter.

Newer technology is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to seeing how far we’ve come when the first x-ray premiered on January 18th 1896, and I’m looking forward to what else science will uncover in the future.

Written & Designed by JD Mitchell


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