The quality and safety of x-ray machines has progressed steadily over the last 100 years.

Present day x-ray machines use modified Coolidge x-ray tubes. This is a highly evacuated tube and contains a heated filament and target. The larger and more powerful tubes have water-cooled anticathodes to prevent melting under the impact of the electron bombardment. The shockproof tube features improved insulation of the envelope and grounded power cables. These tubes produce extremely ""hard"" x-rays.

Techniques using contrast media have extended the potential for diagnosis remarkably. One example is the intravenous injection of a contrast dye into the bloodstream which, because of its excretion through the kidney, will provide an image of the functioning kidney.
The quality and safety of x-ray machines has progressed steadily over the last 100 years.

Present day x-ray machines use modified Coolidge x-ray tubes. This is a highly evacuated tube and contains a heated filament and target. The larger and more powerful tubes have water-cooled anticathodes to prevent melting under the impact of the electron bombardment. The shockproof tube features improved insulation of the envelope and grounded power cables. These tubes produce extremely ""hard"" x-rays.

Techniques using contrast media have extended the potential for diagnosis remarkably. One example is the intravenous injection of a contrast dye into the bloodstream which, because of its excretion through the kidney, will provide an image of the functioning kidney.

© CHIN 2001

X-ray machine

X-ray machine, ca. 1930

Victor X-ray Corporation, Chicago, IL
Canada Museum of Science and Technology
c. 1930
Chicago, Illinois, UNITED STATES
720386
© CHIN 2001


PROFEXRAY Machine

X-ray machine, ca. 1950

Professional Equipment Co., Chicago, IL
Canada Museum of Science and Technology
c. 1950
Chicago, Illinois, UNITED STATES
750042
© CHIN 2001


Present day X-ray Machine

Present day X-ray Machine

Photo courtesy of Museum of Health Care at Kingston

© CHIN 2001


Modern x-ray of an elbow joint

The striking improvements in x-ray technology are evident in the comparison of this x-ray of an elbow joint to the one obtained 100 years ago.

Photo courtesy of Museum of Health Care at Kingston

© CHIN 2001


X-ray of an intravenous pyelogram

An examination of kidney function after the intravenous injection of a radiopaque dye. The bright area to the left of the spinal column is the renal pelvis, which funnels waste products from the kidney into the ureter, which leads to the bladder.

Photo courtesy of Department of Radiology, Kingston General Hospital.

X-ray
© CHIN 2001


Learning Objectives

The learner will:

  • Identify and appreciate the way history and culture shape a society’s science and technology
  • Provide examples of how science and technology have influenced the diagnosis and treatment of human illness, and have made medical technology an integral part of our lives
  • Describe scientific and technological developments, past and present, and appreciate their impact on individuals and societies

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