The X-ray tube is an amazing piece of equipment and required a wide range of technologies to come into existence including: glass blowing, vacuum technology, metallurgy, knowledge of electricity and electrical currents, batteries and static electricity, photography, and fluorescence.
Michael Faraday had made major discoveries in electricity, and there developed a widespread interest in passing currents across fluids held in various vessels. William Crookes devised such a glass vessel, and it was using this that Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen discovered the new rays. Tubes specifically designed for radiography were subsequently developed, the gas or ion tubes. The major development was made by William Coolidge who devised the modern hot cathode vacuum tube on which all modern tubes are based. The story is interesting and the dramatic birth and growth of radiology are described in this video.
1 CPD credit.
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Professor Adrian Thomas
Professor Thomas has been interested in history since junior school days. As a medical student he was taught by Edwin Clarke and Bill Bynum. He was a founder member of the British Society for the History of Radiology. Dr Thomas chaired the group that produced the exhibition for the Röntgen Centenary Congress of 1995. He has published extensively in radiology history and given many presentations. He has been a member of the BIR since 1981 and he is also BIR Honorary Historian.