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Protective apron, Europe, 1951-1970

A layer of lead is incorporated under the canvas exterior of this apron. It protected radiographers from the harmful effects of X-rays. X-rays were discovered in 1895 by Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen (1845-1923). The first committee to investigate possible ill effects of X-rays was formed three years later in 1898. Reports of burns and dermatitis (inflammation of the skin such as rashes) were frequent by this date. Protective coverings for the operator were introduced in 1905. These included lead-lined shields and aprons. However, most workers took few precautions. The British X-ray and Radiation Protection Committee was formed in 1921. It ensured the protection of workers and patients exposed to X-rays.

Object number:

1988-23 Pt1



Glossary: radiology

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

Glossary: apron

Garments worn over main garments for protection and sometimes ornamentation. Usually cover the front of the body and tie at the waist with strings, but may have a bib or shoulder straps. There are specialist types such as those containing lead to give radiological protection.