Jackson X-ray tube, 1896.
2 8 c m
actual image size: 32cm x 20cm

Jackson X-ray tube, 1896.

© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library


This is a very early example of an X-ray tube, through which electricity was pased. It features a cup-shaped cathode which serves to focus the cathode rays onto the target (a platinum anode). When the rays hit the anode, their energy changed into invisible X-rays, which pased out through the glas. Experiments revealed that these rays penetrated some substances more easily than others, and also fogged photographic plates. The fact that X-rays could produce images differentiating between the densities of body tisues, was a discovery which the medical profesion was keen to exploit.

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