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Source: Buffalo Review
Source type: newspaper
Document type: article
Document title: “Edison’s Big X-Ray Machine Ready for Use”
Author(s): anonymous
City of publication: Buffalo, New York
Date of publication: 9 September 1901
Volume number: 19
Issue number: 80
Pagination: [6?]

“Edison’s Big X-Ray Machine Ready for Use.” Buffalo Review 9 Sept. 1901 v19n80: p. [6?].
full text
William McKinley (medical care: use of X-rays); H. A. Knoll; H. A. Knoll (public statements); John T. Pitkin (public statements).
Named persons
George B. Cortelyou; Thomas Edison; H. A. Knoll; John T. Pitkin.


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.”



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