This Happened—December 22: Bertha Röntgen's Hand Becomes Landmark Of Science
In 1895, Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen took the first X-ray ever.
Sign up to receive This Happened straight to your inbox each day!
What was the first X-ray taken of?
Röntgen's experiments revealed that this new type of ray was capable of passing through most substances, including the soft tissues of the body, but left bones and metals visible.
How did the X-ray change the medical field?
In addition to the help X-rays provided in diagnostics, doctors began applying the rays to treating disease. Electrotherapy had proved popular for the temporary relief of real and imagined pains, which used the same apparatus to generate X-rays. In January 1896, a Chicago electrotherapist named Emil Grubbe irradiated a woman's recurrent breast cancer, while others found positive results in the treatment of surface lesions and skin problems.