Patterson Hand-Held Fluoroscope (ca. 1920s, 1930s)

This particular hand-held fluoroscope was manufactured by the Patterson Screen Company of Towanda Pennsylvania, probably in the 1920s or 1930s. Patterson manufactured hand-held fluoroscopes as late as the 1950s, but the later models incorporated protective shielding that this example did not have.

In a 1953-1954 General Electric catalog, "DISCONTINUED BY MANUFACTURER" is stamped in large red letters across the descriptions of the Patterson hand-held fluoroscopes.

When they were in production, Patterson screens were the recognized standard in the U.S. With the x-ray beam on, the physician would stand on the far side of the patient and view the image produced on the fluorescent screen of the fluoroscope.  Compared to generating images on x-ray film, the use of the fluoroscope resulted in higher doses to the patient and doctor (who would not otherwise be exposed to the direct beam).

The screen on this example consists of a layer of cadmium tungstate deposited on the inside of the glass plate that forms the broad end of the device (Patterson pioneered the use of cadmium tungstate as a replacement for calcium tungstate). The body of the fluoroscope is covered with black leatherette and the viewing port is protected from stray light with a fur-like fabric.  

This item was taken from a physician in Louisville, Kentucky who it is believed had been using it into the late 1960ís.

Size: screen is approximately 9" x 11"


General Electric Catalog. X-ray Supplies and Accessories. 1953-1954.

Donated by the Kentucky Radiation Control Program

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Last updated: 05/10/11
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