Profile America: X-Ray Machine

Americans got their first glimpse of an x-ray machine on this date in 1896 in an exhibit in New York City.

Thursday, January 18th. The X-ray machine, the first medical imaging device, was invented in Europe in the late 19th century. Americans got their first glimpse of this medical marvel on this date in 1896 in an exhibit in New York City. It quickly came into use in U.S. medicine, and then into overuse. Thomas Edison’s assistant Clarence Dally, after long, unshielded experimentation with X-rays, had both arms amputated, and then died in 1904 from the exposure to radiation.

X-rays have been largely surpassed by MRIs, CAT scans and PET scans. Manufacturing medical devices and supplies is the business of over 10,700 establishments in the country, with nearly 278,000 employees.

You can find more facts about America’s people, places and economy, from the American Community Survey, here.

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