X-rays at the Exposition
first medical use of Wilhelm Roentgen's "x-ray light" occurred
in 1896, one year after his discovery. Although x-ray apparatus were on
display at the Exposition, no one thought to use it on the wounded President
McKinley to locate that second elusive bullet.
In her 1997 book Naked to the Bone, Bettyann
Holtzmann Kevles1 describes the
following account McKinley's treatment with regard to the X-ray machines
available at the Exposition.
separate from the hospital was a Science Hall which had an X-ray
machine with it's own dry-cell battery on display
. No one
suggested using the X-ray machine in the Hall of Science.
surgery, McKinley was taken to a private home where, for a few days,
he seemed to be improving. Thomas Edison dispatched Clarence Dally,
his number one X-ray assistant, to accompany his best new X-ray
machine from New Jersey to Buffalo. As the train sped north, an
independent group in Buffalo set up a sort-of presidential look-alike
contest in preparation for Dally's arrival. Fat men lined up in
the hope of being selected as the stand-in to test the X-ray for
the president. When the X-ray team arrived, Dr. Vertner Kenerson,
who boasted the same fifty-six inch waistline as the president,
had been selected. Kenerson went to the house where McKinley was
supposedly recuperating and, in a room across the hall from the
president, lay on his side with a light in front of him and a fluoroscope
behind for the twenty minutes it took to get a picture showing "the
entire interior arrangement."
McKinley himself had asked to have an X-ray taken as reassurance
that the bullet hadn't settled in any vital spot. But his doctors
declined, not wanting to subject him to whatever movement he would
have to make to get to the machine.
Eight days after the attack,
he was dead from gangrene."
Components of the 1901 X-ray Machine
chief parts of an X-ray outfit are a static machine, or an induction coil;
the vacuum tube with its supporting apparatus; the fluorescent screen
or fluoroscope; and the photographic plate.
The X-rays are produced
in the vacuum tube, and this tube may be excited by
Portable x-ray machine
Machine; the two types of which are
Forms of: Holtz, Toepler-Holtz, Voss, Wimshurst.
- Plante Rheostatic.
Form of: Thomson Dynamo Static.
the two types of which are
- Ordinary Page,
or Ruhmkorff, coil.
- Tesla, or
high frequency coil. Form of: Thomson coil.
-The static machine may be driven by hand, or by any form of
motor such as an electric or water motor, or a gas engine; and may be
self-exciting or be excited by a small Toepler-Holtz or Wimshurst machine.
The electric current for the induction coil may be obtained from
battery (low voltage).
- Storage battery
by gravity cells;
from street main.
- A dynamo
which generates a continuous or alternating current of either high
or low voltage.
- The street
main (high voltage); current continuous or alternating.
in 1901, the year William McKinley was assassinated, Wilhelm Roentgen
was awarded the Nobel Prize for his discovery.
1. Bettyann Holtzmann Kevles, Naked to the Bone : Medical Imaging in
the Twentieth Century. New Brunswick, N.J. : Rutgers University Press,