Early Mayo X-Ray
In December 1895, William Conrad Roentgen, a German physicist, announced his accidental discovery of a "new kind of ray." Roentgen was fascinated with this X-ray, as he called it, especially its ability to penetrate flesh and record the details on a photographic plate.
The news of the announcement spread rapidly and, soon, X-ray machines appeared at fairs, exhibitions, and various physicians' offices. The Mayo brothers were among those interested in the diagnostic possibilities of the new machine. When a little boy who had swallowed a vest buckle came for treatment, they used the equipment to determine its location and how best to remove it. Dr. Charlie successfully removed the buckle through an incision in the boy's esophagus.
In 1900, Dr. Charlie saw a new type of X-ray machine demonstrated. Designed by the Wagner brothers of Chicago, it was said to be safer and faster than older models. Dr. Charlie was impressed and ordered one. Initially, Dr. Charlie did most of the X-ray work. Like many early users, he carried scars of burns he received for the rest of his life. Soon after the arrival of Dr. Henry Plummer in 1901, the X-ray machine became part of his responsibilities, as he developed Mayo's diagnostic laboratories.
In 1909, the roentgen-ray laboratory began its present-day development when Dr. Vernon Willey took charge of the section.