Clarence Karrer founded the X-Ray Shoe Fitter Corporation of Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1924. Karrer was the son of an X-ray equipment distributor. He had the idea to build a machine called a fluoroscope that allowed shoe salespeople to see the bones of the feet through the shoes.
The word “fluoroscope” comes from the Greek words “fluor” (meaning “to shine”) and “scope” (meaning “to look”). So, a fluoroscope is literally a “shining-to-look” machine.
The machines consisted of wood and metal and had a large X-ray tube at the bottom. The customer placed their feet in a slot at the top of the machine. The salesperson would switch on the X-ray beam, revealing an image of the bones in the feet on a fluorescent screen. These helped shoe salespeople fit shoes better.
Popular for a While
Foot fluoroscopes appeared in shoe stores from the 1920s to the 1970s. However, foot fluoroscopes also emitted radiation. This radiation might harm a person’s health. In the 1970s, the dangers of radiation became more widely known. Foot fluoroscopes disappeared from shoe stores in many countries.
The company’s first machine was the “Adrian”. It used a continuous X-ray beam to create images of the feet.
In the 1930s, the company introduced a new machine called the “Simplex.” The Simplex was a more advanced machine that used a pulsed X-ray beam to create images of the feet. The Simplex could be more portable than the Adrian, and thus more effective for shoe stores.
The X-Ray Shoe Fitter Corporation led in manufacturing of shoe-fitting fluoroscopes. The company’s machines appeared in shoe stores all over the country.
However, the company’s success didn’t last. In the 1970s, the dangers of radiation became more widely known. The X-Ray Shoe Fitter Corporation went out of business in 1976.
There are a number of studies that document the degree to which shoe-fitting fluoroscopes may harm people. They showed that the radiation from these machines can increase the risk of cancer, especially skin cancer and leukemia.
One study, published in the British Medical Journal in 1957, found that people exposed to shoe-fitting fluoroscopes could develop skin cancer. The study also found that the risk of developing skin cancer was higher for people exposed for a longer period of time.
Another study came from the Journal of the National Cancer Institute in 1975. It found that people exposed to shoe-fitting fluoroscopes might develop leukemia. The study also found that the risk of developing leukemia was higher for people exposed to the radiation at a younger age.
These studies suggest that exposure to the radiation from shoe-fitting fluoroscopes can be harmful to people’s health. However, it is important to compare the shoe fitter radiation compares to other radiation sources.
The radiation dose from a thoracic CT scan is much higher than the radiation dose from a chest x-ray or a foot fluoroscope session. A thoracic CT scan can expose the person to about 7 mSv of radiation. This is about 230 times the amount of radiation from a chest x-ray and about 1,800 times that of a foot fluoroscope.
Thoracic CT scans emit much more radiation than other types of imaging tests. CT scans take multiple images of the body from different angles, and each image requires a high dose of radiation. Thoracic CT scans should only take place when absolutely necessary.
- Year Started: 1924
- Year Ended: 1970
- Origin Of Name: Descriptive
- Location Sales: Worldwide
- Brand Name Predecessor: N/A
- Brand Name Successor: N/A
- Owner Original: X-Ray Shoe Fitter Corporation
- Owner While In Use: X-Ray Shoe Fitter Corporation
- Owner Successor: N/A
- Year Resurrected: N/A
- What’s Popular Today: Ultrasound
- Naics Code: 334517
- Location Headquarters: Milwaukee, Wisconsin USA