These two images “The First Attempt to Treat Cancer with X-Rays” and “Insertion of a Tube” were painted by Georges Chicotot, doctor, and one of the world’s first specialists in radiology. They are on display at he Musee de l’Assistance Publique, Hopitaux de Paris.
We can’t just get enough of those Naughty, Naughty Roentgen Rays. The above commercial, from 1930s Germany, nicely illustrates the fears (and titillation) surrounding Dr. Roentgen’s invention, then goes on to assure the modern woman that rumors of “Roentgetn glasses,” been true, she would be well served by the elegance of contemporary Felina lingerie.
And these fears were real enough to sustain a brief market in anti-voyeueristic dress manufacture as evidenced by this ad from 1896 for “the perfect dress interlining.”
The seamy peekaboo undercurrents associated with the medical marvel are likewise nicely evoked by this photo found on one of our favorite Tumblr blogs, Sutured Infection.
And from the blog Glamor Daze we some American footage from the 1940s that reminds us of that X-rays had much to recommend them to foot fetishists too who might have enjoyed hanging around shoe stores where X-ray scanners were kept around to aid in fitting and attract curious consumers.
Finally, a bit of verse, also penned by Lawrence K. Russel and published by Life Magazine in 1896:
She is so tall, so slender; and her bones– Those frail phosphates, those carbonates of lime– Are well produced by cathode rays sublime; By oscillations, amperes and by ohms, Her dorsal vertebrae are no concealed By epidermis, but are well revealed.
Around her ribs, those beauteous twenty-four, Her flesh a halo makes, misty in lime, Her noseless, eyeless face looks into mine, And I but whisper, “Sweetheart, je t’adore.” Her white and gleaming teeth at me do laugh, Ah! lovely, cruel, sweet cathodagraph!
I’m full of daze, Shock and amaze; For nowadays I hear they’ll gaze Thro’ cloak and gown — and even stays, These naughty, naughty Roentgen Rays.
This little ditty from 1896 sums up the prurient interest that Wilhelm Roentgen’s invention of X-ray technology immediately… err… “aroused.”
By the 1930s the X-ray was still exotic enough to be exploited by the pulps as a tool employed by the mad scientist in his tireless experimentation upon voluptuous semi-clad female subjects. (images via pbase.com/silverghost1951.)
The fascination lingered through the 1950s and into the 1960s as evidenced by this classic Gil Elvegren pinup “Inside Story/Overexposure” and the success of “Sea-Monkey” creator, Nazi, and mail-order huckster Harold Von Braunhut‘s naughty-minded “X-ray Specs.”
Today, of course, these salacious fantasies have been all-too graphically realized in the work of Belgian artist Wim Delvoye, whose radiographic images of various acts sex acts have been posted to death since they first appeared on the in 2001. We prefer the more evocative X-ray pinup calendar that appeared in 2010 as a promotional item for medical imaging company Eizo, and has of late been satirically recast as “The Miss TSA Calendar.”