When Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen discovered the X-ray in 1895, the New York Times was so skeptical that the paper referred to the medical breakthrough as the "alleged discovery of how to photograph the invisible."
It also took a long time to figure out how use the technology safely. A French physician, Dr. Maxime Menard, had to have his finger amputated when he developed cancer from frequent exposure to radiation while manning an X-ray machine.
(In a striking juxtaposition to modern medicine, Menard smoked a cigarette while his offending finger was surgically removed.)
We forget how young modern medicine is. The fetal ultrasound wasn't developed until 1959. Penicillin wasn't discovered until 1928. And when the 1918 flu pandemic approached New York City -- less than 100 years ago -- top medical minds were convinced the illness arrived on waves of "bad air."
See how much medical treatments have changed below.
This is what an ambulance looked like in 1881:
And in 1911:
Ambulance trains transported wounded soldiers during World War I:
The inside of a ambulance train medical office in 1900:
Childbirth in 1939 meant inhaling anesthesia during labor:
And 1939 oxygen masks were one-size-fits-all:
The iron lung helped people who couldn't breath on their own in 1938:
So did a 1938 respiratory jacket:
This is what the inside of an oxygen tent looked like in 1937:
A medicated fog was used to treated cold and flu symptoms in 1929:
Patients inhaled powdered medicines to heal respiratory disease in 1930:
What a flu mask looked like in 1919:
And what an anesthesia machine looked like in 1913:
An early fitness test in 1932:
Sun lamp therapy for children in 1929:
And for adults in 1930:
A hip massage machine in 1928:
People tried to stretch themselves taller in 1931:
Getting frostbite and rheumatism therapy in 1910:
Electric water baths for better blood circulation in 1938:
Red Cross workers stretch surgical dressings in 1915:
An X-ray machine that was safer to operate, in 1929:
Developing vaccines in 1917:
The 1912 version of a hazmat suit:
A medical college's dissection room in 1902:
And the ultimate drama, medical theater, also 1902:
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