Category: Radiology
Estimated Date: 1905
Name: Electrostatic X-Ray Machine
Manufacturer: VanHouten and Tenbroeck

Description: This Oak Framed glass cabinet houses five large glass discs for generating electrostatic current and three small ones in a sub division.There are two brass bulbs mounted on arms that collect the electrostatic charge and deliver the electric current. The various attachments are shown in the illustration from the Charles Lentz Catalogue (ref 36). It is 5’ x 27” deep x 62” wide. At the turn of the century there was a debate about the use of electrostatic machines for generating X-Rays. These machines had been used since the 18th century to provide electric therapy. There were many smaller home versions, but the large ones were used by physicians and could generate a sizable current. They soon disappeared from use as it became apparent that the amount of current they generated was inadequate and alternating current machines took their place. Also shown here is the original small glass X-Ray tube. The patient stood between the tube and the physician who used a hand held fluoroscopic device. There was no shielding, but fortunately the current was low. Among the attachments listed in the catalog are: insulated platform, conductors, leyden jars, crown for static breeze, adjustable holder, concentrator standard, full set of electrodes. A similar Static Machine, shown on another page is said to be “without doubt one of the best and most reliable to be found…….It is also an excellent machine for X-Ray work.” The photo of the patient receiving electric therapy is from Snow (ref193). The primative tube that was used for the machine is on this site.

Reference 1: 36

X-Ray Discovery
Electrostatic X-Ray Machine
X-Ray Tube
X-Ray Tube