Researchers have fired up an 1895 x-ray machine to compare its images to that of a modern system. A physician from Maastricht University Medical Center in the Netherlands dusted off the antique machine, built by a local hospital director and high school director just weeks after X-ray discoverer Wilhelm Roentgen described his own system in a scientific journal. The pair, H J Hoffmans and Lambertus Theodorus van Kleef, homebrewed their machine from parts scavenged from the high school. The antique, operating under the same conditions outlined by Hoffmans and van Kleef, required a radiation dose 1,500 times higher than delivered by the current system to achieve comparable results. The antique's image is the one on the left. From the BBC News:
The team carefully recreated the experimental conditions that the machine's inventors would have used.
Given that a high radiation dose might be required to carry out the tests, the team obtained a hand from a cadaver as their imaging subject – rather than the "young lady's hand" listed in Hoffmans and van Kleef's notes…
"Our experience with this machine, which had a buzzing interruptor, crackling lightning within a spark gap, and a greenish light flashing in a tube, which spread the smell of ozone and which revealed internal structures in the human body was, even today, little less than magical," they wrote.
"X-ray machine from 1896 compared to modern version" (Thanks, Bob Pescovitz!)