Radium – Boon or Menace?
By HUGO GERNSBACK
Member, American Physical Society; Member, American Association for the Advancement of Science.
RECENTLY the press reported the case of a wealthy man who died from the direct use of radium, in a way that made it necessary for the authorities to step in and investigate the so-called “radium cures”. The victim, Eben M. Byers, an iron manufacturer, died in a New York hospital from the effects of radium absorbed by drinking “radithor”, a radioactive water manufactured by the Bailey Radium Laboratories, East Orange, New Jersey.
Precious Radium is Medicine’s Treacherous Helper
Rare metal is teamed with common lead to become an ally of science.
Weird masks impregnated with lead shield this doctor from the withering rays of radium held in the tiny vial. These same rays become healing agents when they are properly directed.
Leftâ€”-This solid lead container protects hospital attendants who transport radium. Aboveâ€”â€”Guarded by a lead shield containing thick lead glass, a nurse restores a vial of radium to its holder. Rightâ€”Lead vaults for radium. Box marked 100 contains one-tenth of a grain of radium. It is worth $7,500.
Lead is the only thing radium rays will not penetrate and without a lead shield, this interne must work at a distance. Right-â€”Radium is now valued at $1,000,000 an ounce. It looks like a white salt, and each grain must be well guarded.