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Opposite above: Monography of Dr.Hoffmans with description of the experiments with ‘Röntgens’ rays’, published 5 February 1896. | Municipial library Maastricht, Centre Ceramique Opposite below: X-ray of the hand of the 21-year old daughter of Dr. van Kleef, made by Dr.Hoffmans 31 January 1896. | RHCL Below: Dr.H.J.Hoffmans (1842-1925), portrait by Henri Goovaerts (1908), at the left the röntgen-equipment used by Hoffmans. | RHCL, GAM F 13752 163 brochure. All instruments that he used as well as the The X-ray equipment as used by Hoffmans in 1896 is still photographic equipment have been preserved. available in Maastricht and well preserved by a group of Hoffmans deserves credit for producing the first X-rays in the technicians of the Gemeentelijke Nutsbedrijven. This offered Netherlands. Van Kleef was so impressed by the results that he the opportunity to reproduce the experiments of 1896 bought ‘the complete instruments for Röntgen X rays’ for the and to compare the antiquated X-ray system with modern Calvariënberg hospital from the firm of Gudendag in equipment in terms of image quality, technical parameters Amsterdam for the sum of 1208 guilders and 73 cents at the and radiation dose. The results are published in 2011 in end of 1897. He paid one thousand guilders out of his own the scientific journal Radiology: Kemerink M, Dierichs DJ, pocket, while the Burgerlijk Armbestuur furnished the Dierichs J, Huynen HJM, Wildberger JE, van Engelshoven remaining 208 guilders and 73 cents. When he left the hospital JMA, Kemerink GJ. Characteristics of a first-Generation in 1904, Van Kleef donated the instruments to the hospital. X-Ray System. Radiology: 2011, 259, 534-539. Two figures from this public are summarized below. Above: The X-ray setup anno 1896 as used in the experiments of Hoffmans: on the left a modern battery instead of the original Bunsen elements; behind it the Ruhmkorff inductor to generate 73 kV and on the right the Crookes’ tube and a transparent lead shield in between. Ruhmkorff inductor and Crookes’ tube are also visible on the painting of Henri Govaerts (1908). Below: Two X-ray images of a human hand. The left image has been obtained with the old equipment of Hoffmans and the right image with modern equipment. The right image is clearly of much better quality but also the left image already shows many details of the hand skeleton never seen until that moment. Additionally, the radiation dose to the skin was a factor 1500 higher in case the old equipment was used and the exposure time of one image was ninety minutes (21 msec using modern machines). So, the technical improvements of the last century did not only realize much better images but also an enormous reduction in radiation dose to the patient.


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