X-ray security machine, 1900

X-ray security machine, 1900

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Credit: SHEILA TERRY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: X-ray security machine. Historical artwork of a fluoroscope being used in a late 19th-century French customs hall. The fluoroscope was designed and built by the French inventor Eugene Ducretet (1844-1915). This model is by another French inventor, Seguy. The device was used to examine postal packets and parcels using X-rays (source behind the suitcase being examined), which were discovered in 1895. The fluoroscope worked by using a screen coated with calcium fluoride to stop the X-rays and produce light instead, a process known as fluorescence. If an object being examined stopped the X-rays, then it would show up as a dark area on the glowing screen. Artwork from A Travers l'Electricite (G. Dary, Paris, 1900).

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