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Pedoscope X-ray apparatus, St Albans, England 1930-1955

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Pedoscopes were used in European and North American shoe shops during the middle of the 20th century. They created X-ray images of the foot without the need to remove the shoe. This one consists of a large wooden box with a hole near the bottom into which the foot was placed. The length of X-ray exposure could be altered depending on whether you were a man, woman or child. The fluorescent image of the foot bones within the shoe were viewed through a hole in the top of the cabinet by the shoe fitter. The other two holes were used by the child and the parent or guardian. The pedoscope carries a health warning suggesting customers have no more than 12 shoe fittings a year. Health concerns, especially about the staff using them throughout their working day, saw the machines eventually withdrawn.

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    Glossary: x-rays

    A wave of electromagnetic radiation that has high energy and short wavelength. It is able to pass through many materials, except those of high density such as metals or bones. Discovered in 1895 by William Roentgen.

    Glossary: pedoscope

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