Coolidge tube, United States, 1920

1920 in United States
General Electric

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Coolidge tube, used by Dr. Burkitt, made by General Electric, USA, c.1920

American physicist William Coolidge (1832-1919) patented his ‘hot cathode’ tube in 1913. The cathode was a heated, electron-emitting tungsten filament. It produced a high output of X-rays that did not fluctuate and were easily adjusted. This eliminated many problems of the older so-called ‘gas tubes’. Combined with more reliable power supplies, it allowed X-ray techniques to become standardised and reproducible. The fins at the end of the tube disperse the heat generated in the tungsten anode which the larger currents use.


Object Number:
anode, metal, anticathode, copper, cathode, metal, tube, glass and tungsten
x-ray tube
  • furnishing and equipment
  • tools & equipment
  • x-ray machine
Burkitt, K.

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