The Science of Existence (65-4-2) Pedoscopes


Goofing with X-rays continued well past Röntgen. From the 1920s to the 1960s in the United States, and into the mid-1970s in Britain, X-ray fluoroscopes were employed to fit shoes. Called pedoscopes, their use was a sales gimmick: claiming a better fit, and more fun for the kids at the shoe store. The traditional method was equally effective, more convenient, and much less hazardous to health.

The danger of the pedoscope was belatedly revealed in the US in 1949. The machines were quietly phased out as the next decade wore on. Pedoscopes may not have resulted in gross overexposure to customers but did take a toll on shoe clerks who regularly used them.