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Mass and Mobile X-Ray . Eequipment and vehicles


dgosden
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Hi, Yes new joiner here currently researching X-Ray screening of military and civilians.

 

I understand that X-Ray screening military personnel started about 1936 and that mobile units were used. So, I am looking for any information on both vehicles used and the equipment in them. This is chest X-Rays for conditions including Pulmonary Tuberculosis (TB).

The Civilian mass X-Ray programme started with research about 1941 with a specialist group, under the direction of Kathleen C. Clark, reporting to the Medical Research Council in 1943/4 from which came evaluation tests on 23,000 people in central London and 3? experimental/prototype vehicles. 17 vehicles are purported to be in service in various parts of Britain by 1948. When the NHS was formed in 1948 they ordered 51 Leyland Beavers which were equipped with Watson X-Ray machines and a generator in a trailer behind.

This is a wide ranging challenge so any help will be welcome .. experiences, vehicles and equipment, any surviving examples, photos and interesting info. Interest is both military and civilian.

 

Ta muchly! ... David Gosden

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Welcome and G'Day

 

An interesting subject. Any idea what the kv and exposure times were back in the day?

 

This is pre Hiroshima and Nagasaki so still in the days when radiation was barely understood and shoe shops had devices to xray your feet in the shoes as a gimic.

Edited by fesm_ndt
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Thanks for the info...yes

 

Research and early test units were 100kV on some, 125kV on others.. exposure 0.1 to 0.15sec which requires 20kvA for just the exposure as load was in the region of 0.2A. Xray equipment was supplied by Watson, North

London. Photography was the flourographic screen method screen using the Levy-West Mk39. The camera lens used was the TTH Anastigmat 50mm,'Radiography', f1.5 being the finest available at the time. Image inspection used a specially developed 35mm projector by MPP Ltd and on board film processing used the dip and dunk or spiral tank methods depending on what, I do not know.

Miss Kathleen Clarke head of the Radiography section of Ilford Ltd and a world authority on the subject headed up research and development. She was awarded an MBE in 1945 for her services to mass x-ray. Sadly she died on 20th October 1968 at the age of 70 after a 4 year long stay in hospital. Cause - radiation?

More reading online at http://www.rushdenheritage.co.uk

Hope this helps

Regards,

David Gosden

Welcome and G'Day

 

An interesting subject. Any idea what the kv and exposure times were back in the day?

 

This is pre Hiroshima and Nagasaki so still in the days when radiation was barely understood and shoe shops had devices to xray your feet in the shoes as a gimic.

Edited by dgosden
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Thanks and here's hoping you have luck finding the photo also keen to take a look. Some were cream and some white but have seen just one in dark blue..Might have been painted that colour by the recent owner though!

Regards,

David Gosden

 

David somewhere I've got at picture of a restored civilian mass radiography unit, painted cream I think. It was taken about 30 years ago, problem is finding it!
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Thanks. From 1945 the UK civilian units were Leyland Beavers (pic below) but they were updated and modified until taken out of service about 1980. I think bodies remained generally the same though. Some photos and info refers to a similar trailer. See also the other posting today showing an Austin army vehicle...may be of interest.

Regards, David Gosden

p1029956652-3cmono4inch.jpg

Welcome along!

 

The Canadians had a special X-Ray truck that's listed in the Canadian Army Overseas vehicle data book. The description of the Body states "Brit built" so I wonder if it's shared in-common with the vehicles you mention?

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Interesting to see some kind of towing frame in the stowed position in front of the radiator, hardly looks beefy enough to tow that lorry.

 

What vehicle was housed in a semi trailer or articulated lorry set up in the 70's then, I thought that was x ray? I recall seeing one at Sutton Coldfield at the recruiting place and I thought it was sold off through Withams in the late 90's.

 

Maybe i'm loosing it.

 

R

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Interesting to see some kind of towing frame in the stowed position in front of the radiator, hardly looks beefy enough to tow that lorry.

 

What vehicle was housed in a semi trailer or articulated lorry set up in the 70's then, I thought that was x ray? I recall seeing one at Sutton Coldfield at the recruiting place and I thought it was sold off through Withams in the late 90's.

 

Maybe i'm loosing it.

 

R

 

The frame on the front of the Beaver is for shunting the 4 wheel generator trailer.

 

The mobile X-ray unit that used to visit military bases around this way in the 70's was based on the Bedford VAL twin steer coach chassis as I recall, as I once had to go to a barracks to sort a problem on it whilst it was operating. It from the Royal Navy at Lee-on-Solent.

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Thanks for your post and glad to clarify the request. Little research and reporting has been done on Mass X-Ray chest screening so I and a fellow colleague are looking at the whole subject both military and civilian, with a view to publishing a report, perhaps next year. It is intended to cover equipment, vehicles, staff training and reports and results as far as is possible.

 

It's probably easiest to note what is not required....e.g. ordinary field X-Ray equipment and vehicles. These would have been used to look at broken bones and other injuries sustained at work and in the field.

 

Pulmonary Tuberculosis (TB) was an ever growing problem, becoming a very great concern in the 1930's. So serious was it that about 1935 the armed forces embarked on a campaign of examining personnel using mass X-Ray equipment mounted probably in vans and moving from base to base. The resulting images (on photographic film) would then be examined and those found to have, or suspected of having, a problem would then be dealt with accordingly by isolation/treatment. It should be noted that early civilian equipment was of the 'portable' type, being moved in vans and set up in buildings, offices,halls etc. The van then became a mobile photographic darkroom for processing the film and examining the images obtained by projection on a screen. Military units might have been similar.

 

This was an early form of Mass X-Ray for later civilian use in the NHS campaign starting in 1948 although there were a few machines about prior to that year. Work by the Medical Research Council considered the methods used by the military in their study of 1942- 1944, reporting to the Ministry of Health in 1944. This resulted in the Mass X-Ray campaign which ran until about 1980.

 

So, I my research is concerned with not just vehicles but the installed and equipment used - X-Ray machines, photographic processing and image examination equipment etc. A Time Line would perhaps be 1935 to 1950.

 

I have now established that the generator units were the same as 4 wheel 'hippo' ? trailers fitted with a Lister JP4 power unit driving a 21kVA generator. An almost 'off the shelf' unit. Indeed, the design of civilian X-Ray van (on a Leyland Beaver chassis) bodywork was based on the military design. Chicken and egg! After about 1957 it seems generator trailers were not used - design changes, updating and X-Ray equipment changes being the reasons.

 

So, vehicles and equipment information sought is not about 'I think you might have broken your arm sir. I'll just take an X-Ray to check' but rather the well planned and thought out mass chest X-Ray scheme for the armed forces.

 

The attached photo is of an early NHS Leyland Beaver unit with a 'hippo' generator trailer.

massxray-ayreshirea.jpg

I would very much welcome any info about the REME Museum, equipment and archive.

 

I hope this answers your helpful response. If not, do get back to me. And ... hope to hear from you again IDC.

 

Kindest regards,

David Gosden

 

 

 

Sorting EMERs out in the Tech Archive at the REME Museum, I did find several on X-Ray machines. If you know what type of machine you need info on, there might be some info there as REME serviced them.

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The other item I find interesting is that x-ray tubes, even todays metal ceramic types are extremely fragile. During the war years they would have been glass.

 

So the storage system must be quite rugged in these trucks.

 

Also over 90% of energy produced by an x-ray set is heat. Older medical types had rotating anodes to dissipate heat and increase the duty cycle but my guess is these trucks are prior to that idea. My guess with the fluorescent screens they may have placed the film between them as the earlier comment mentions a development process. It would be interesting to see the internal layout.

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Thanks.

 

Rotating anode tubes were rejected by the MRC Technical Sub Committee as the images produced were poor compared with other types on offer at the time. Google 'viewimages' then the Getty archive 'mass x-ray' and 'oldest images'. There are several press pictures which show the equipment. But beware of the van pictures. I am pretty sure these are based on a NHS van with the Science Museum. 35mm film was used until 1957 when a change was made to 70mm and 100mm film. Leyland Beaver OPU840 (in their collection) was withdrawn from service about 1980 as an updated vehicle, not in its original pre 1957 condition or equipment. The museum model I think is dated 2001.

There is an interesting report by the MRC at www.rushdenheritage.co.uk which deals with some of these things. It's the 1945 report that gives details.

 

Considerable work had been done to find the best of the best which is why the TTH lens came to be used. The 35mm projector used for examining images was a special development too.

 

A research contact (Dr of medicine) said that images were sometimes difficult to read. 'It was like measuring the blood pressure of a patient wearing a thick wooly jumper' because X-Rays were taken with the candidate clothed. This is backed up by extracts from other publications gleaned.

 

There is more reading about but it needs a lot of drilling down to find reports and meaningful documents.

 

Transport of early units, equipment etc. was done in specially made cases, 4 of which converted to a processing bench in the darkroom.

 

I have little idea of what was used by the military as little has come back thus far. So most is based on Department of Health material.

 

'Hope this is of interest.

 

David Gosden

 

 

The other item I find interesting is that x-ray tubes, even todays metal ceramic types are extremely fragile. During the war years they would have been glass.

 

So the storage system must be quite rugged in these trucks.

 

Also over 90% of energy produced by an x-ray set is heat. Older medical types had rotating anodes to dissipate heat and increase the duty cycle but my guess is these trucks are prior to that idea. My guess with the fluorescent screens they may have placed the film between them as the earlier comment mentions a development process. It would be interesting to see the internal layout.

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Here are the Asset Codes old & new for truck & trailer mounted X-ray equipment in 1967.

 

App3828.jpg

 

App3830.jpg

 

App3829.jpg

 

App3831.jpg

 

As for the EMERs for the vehicle mounted equipment they are in EMER MEDICAL & DENTAL

 

O 020 - 029 Watson 90/400 man miniature radiography series 1 & 2

O 020 - 029 Unit, mass radiography Watson Odelca 70mm

 

All other X-ray equipment & ancillaries of their various kinds are in section O.

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Thanks for the reply and info... I will follow this up particularly with reference to the Leyland Beaver unit as it would seem this might be common to military and civilian vehicles. A very useful find!

 

It is interesting to note that 70mm Watson X-Ray equipment was in use. Civilian (NHS) units changed over to this in 1957. It made for more 'readable' images.

 

Regards

David Gosden

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