Edison’s Big X-Ray Machine Ready for Use
Ablest Experts in the World Are Here, but the Operation
May Fail to Locate the Bullet.
The X-ray machine, asked for by Secretary
Cortelyou and provided by Thomas A. Edison, arrived at the Milburn
home yesterday morning at 10:40 o’clock, having been received but
a few moments before over the Delaware, Lackawan[n]a & Western
Railroad. The apparatus, which consists of at least 30 different
packages, including extra Crooke’s tubes, fluoriscopes [sic] and
coils, was transported in an ordinary express wagon and along the
route attracted much attention. People craned their necks and [r]an
into the street to get a glimpse of the wonderful electrical machine
that may be used in an attempt to locate the anarchist’s bullet,
and many were the fervent prayers that it may perform its duty well.
At the [c]orner of Delaware Avenue
and Ferry Street the wagon drew alongside the curb and the soldiers
and police, always watchful to prevent any noise in the vicinity
of the Milburn house, ordered that it proceed no farther. A detail
of ten soldiers, who were then on rel[ie]f, were employed in transporting
the machinery to the house. It was carried to the rear door and
deposited in the k[i]tchen, where it was set up yesterday afternoon
and tested and everything found to be in order. Dr. H. A. Knoll,
c[hi]ef surgeon of the Hudson Street Hosp[it]al, New York, and an
expert in the employment of the X-ray in surgery, accompanied the
machine, and from all that can be learned will operate it today.
He will be assisted by several me[n] from Edison’s laboratory in
Orange, N. J., some of whom arrived yesterday afternoon, and others
will arrive [t]his morning. Upon unpacking the apparatus yesterday
afternoon is [sic] was [f]ound that 6-inch coils or conductors [w]ere
all that had been shipped, and for the work required of it 10-inch
[co]ils are necessary. There are but few of these in existence,
but one will be forthcoming in time for use today.
Dr. Knoll Predicts Nothing.
Dr. Knoll, when interviewed by a
REVIEW re[p]resentative, was very reluctant to talk and refused
absolutely to d[is]cuss p[r]obable success or failure of the apparatus
to locate the bullet.
“We will [d]o our best,” said Dr.
Knoll. “We [r]ealize what an important duty we are [c]alled upon
to perform and assure the public that we will strain ev[e]ry effort
as we never have done before. The ma[tt]er, however, is not clearly
outlined [a]t present and is in no shape to dis[c]uss. In fact we
do not even know [w]hether we will use the machine at [a]ll. We
are simply here and out apparatus is here in case we can be usefu[l.]”
Dr. John T. Pitkin of No. 206 Connecticut
Street, an eminent physician and a man whose reputation as an operator
of the X-ray apparatus is widespread, was interviewed on the matter
yesterday afternoon. Dr. Pitkin’s statements are highly interesting,
but must be acknowledged are not e[n]couraging in the extreme.
“The use of the X-ray, or rather t[h]e
successful use of it, in our President’s case,” said Dr. Pitkin,
“depends entirely on the location of the bullet and the strength
and power of the apparatus. I understand that the most powerful
and complete machine in existence was received this morning at the
Milburn home. With this apparatus the operation may be successful.
“The first condition that is to be
considered a hindrance to the success of t[h]e operation is the
girth of the Presid[e]nt. He is a very large man, especially through
that part of the body in which the bullet must be located. Fat is
a non-conductor and it is questionable whether a machine, powerful
enough to locate the bullet and still not burn the body, can be
obtained. Even after getting the location of the bullet it will
be difficult to photograph it in such shape that the surgeon will
be able to make his way to it at once. The fluorimeter [sic] must
be used, a machine for the purpose of dealing with shadows and distances.
It is a most complicated and sensitive machine and exceedingly accurate,
but it may not be able exactly to record the location of the bullet
in the President’s body.”
The Process Described.
“What process must be gone through
with in case the X-ray is used in locating the bullet?” was asked
by the reporter.
“First, a sensitive plate, a plate
far more sensitive than the photographer’s plate, must be placed,
under the body in this case, inasmuch as the article to be removed
is near the back. The Crooke’s tubes are then placed over [t]he
body. The distance of the tubes from the body is a very important
matter. If the tubes are placed too close to the body what we call
‘ray burning’ must result. If the distance is exactly d[e]termined,
however, the photograph may be taken with ease with no more preparation
than this described. In this case the fluorimeter [sic] must be
also introduced. The photograph might be taken and the bullet apparently
located, and in spite of this the surgeon might not be able to extract
it. It is a case where photographs even may lie. The photograph,
unless the fluorimeter [sic] is used, will record the bullet according
to the angle in which the light penetrates the body.”