Tag Archives: Dr. Robert Box

Death by X-Ray?

Death by X-Ray?


Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  03 Mar 1965, Wed,  Page 5

Gary Box —My uncle Bert researched X-Rays and lost an arm because of the way it was used at the time. He was one of the funniest people I ever knew. Thank you Linda.


X-rays were discovered in 1895 and since then much has been written about Wilhelm Roentgen and the events surrounding the discovery. However, there have been only scattered references in the literature about the early workers who dedicated their life, and death, to X-rays.

The first known human to be killed by X-rays was Clarence Dally who had spent a number of years working on Thomas Edison’s X-ray light bulb. After years of work, his hair fell out and his skin erupted in lesions that wouldn’t heal. While Edison cancelled the bulb, Dally continued working with X-rays. Burns on his hands became cancerous, and he had both of his arms amputated. He died in 1898 at the age of 39.

Image result for shoe x ray machine

During the 1930s, ’40s, and early ’50s, x-ray machines were also a not-infrequent feature of American shoe stores, which used them to ensure a better fit. You can see a demonstration of the concept in this clip from the 1920s silent film, General Personal Hygiene:

Exposure from a dental X-ray is roughly the same as being exposed to 1 day of environmental background radiation.An X-ray shoe-fitting fluoroscope was common in shoe stores during the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s. When a person put their foot in the fluoroscope, they were effectively standing on an X-ray tube. A shoe model for the shoe-fitting machines received such serious radiation burns that she had to have her leg amputated.

The daughter of one early adopter later reported that “at one of my birthday parties we had fancy rings for the children to wear and showed them their skeletal hands to loud shrieks of excitement: knowing what we do today, of course, he wouldn’t have done it.”


One of the strangest things found was when Australian Pat Skinner came back to the hospital 18 months after surgery complaining of stomach pain the doctors found something they’d lost over a year ago…their surgical scissors! Actually the same scenario happened to my late father-in-law years ago after the surgeon left scissors in him and it took a year of wondering what was wrong to find out thanks to an X Ray.

                        More Box Familyhistoricalnotes

Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  26 May 1956, Sat,  Page 5

Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  06 Aug 1924, Wed,  Page 22


Clipped from The Winnipeg Tribune,  01 Mar 1924, Sat,  Page 20



Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  26 Apr 1923, Thu,  5 O’ Clock Edition,  Page 4

Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  02 Apr 1927, Sat,  Page 2

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun and Screamin’ Mamas (USA)

Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read. Also check out The Tales of Carleton Place.


Oh Those Crazy Old Family Tales…

Prologue to Killed by Zulus — Duncan and James Box

A Time of its Own– The Mystery Photo

The Short but Illustrious Life of Dr. Daniel Muirhead

What Was it Like Living in Beckwith 1800s? Christina McEwen Muirhead

Christena McEwen– The Belle of Beckwith Part 1 -“The Woodcocks”

Killed by Zulus — Duncan and James Box

Was a Boldt Castle Boathouse Once in our Midst? See the Home of the Daphne!

He Hailed from Carleton Place– Harold Box– The Forgotten Scientist?

“Bossin’ Billy” McEwen Muirhead –Box family

McLaren Left it All to the McLeod Sisters–His Maids!

unnamed (1)