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35mm Mass Radiography camera, London, England, 1943-1960

Mass miniature radiography was used to diagnose tuberculosis (TB) from 1936 onwards. The camera is slightly less than 400 mm long and weighs 10.87 kg. The X-rays produced by this camera were just 100 mm high and so were viewed on a projector. Tuberculosis was a difficult disease to diagnose as people who appeared ‘healthy’ still showed signs of the disease, such as lesions in the lungs – which could be revealed by X-ray – and so could spread TB. Mobile units were set up so more people could be diagnosed, more quickly. Today, X-ray departments are found in hospitals and images are taken of every part of the body instead of just the chest.

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Glossary: tuberculosis

An infectious disease that is caused by a bacterium first identified by Robert Koch in 1882. The disease usually affects the lungs first, and is accompanied by a chronic cough.

Glossary: radiology

The scientific study of X-rays and other high energy radiation, especially as used in medicine.

Glossary: x-ray camera

Specialised equipment for taking X-ray images.

Glossary: lesion

An abnormal structural change in a body part