Discovered by Wilhelm Roentgen in 1895, x-rays, or Roentgen Rays, were an instant spectacle in the medical and scientific communities. Initially used to examine internal injuries, scientists such as Thomas Edison quickly began investigating new ways to use x-rays. The dark side of x-rays emerged, however, as people developed skin cancer and “x-ray disease” after exposure to the rays. Despite the danger, experimentation with x-rays continued in earnest. Read more about it!
The information in this guide focuses on primary source materials found in the digitized historic newspapers from the digital collection Chronicling America.
The timeline below highlights important dates related to this topic and a section of this guide provides some suggested search strategies for further research in the collection.
|1895||The German Scientist Wilhelm Roentgen discovered the x-ray, sometimes called the Roentgen Ray at the time.|
|1896||X-rays are used in hospitals to help with examinations and surgery.|
|1904||Thomas Edison’s assistant dies from skin cancer and Edison becomes sick due to x-ray exposure.|
|1915||Radium is reported to cure “x-ray disease.”|
|1919||The x-ray is used to examine a bomb to protect an inspector.|
|1921||X-rays are reported to treat cancer.|