Strona główna » 1901 – 1944

1901 – 1944

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  On May 24, 1901 the radiological laboratory in the Warsaw Holy Spirit Hospital started radiological examinations for patients of a paediatric centre (Zakład Leczniczy dla Dzieci, Warsaw, Ogrodowa Street) thus initiating the history of Polish paediatric radiology.

  In 1907 a rule of isometrics was published, which was a breakthrough in stomatological radiology that which was coming into being; it made it possible to take real-size X-ray pictures of teeth. It was developed by the Pole Antoni Cieszyński, a professor of stomatology at the Lvov University. After he graduated, he worked in the Stomatological Institute in Munich. He was the author of many technical innovations, including a X-ray cassette for stereoscopic pictures, a holder for extraoral pictures, holders for intraoral pictures, a measurement device for direct reading the distance between the film and the focus, a cap with a plate making it easier to adjust the main beam for typical pictures of the skull. In 1907 he developed the first atlas of stomatological radiology in the world. Cieszyński's activity laid the foundations of stomatological radiology. In 1926 he published his own textbook of stomatological radiology.

  A considerable contribution to the development of the world radiology was made by Prof. Bronisław Sabat. Initially, he worked in Lvov, and then in Warszawa. He was a precursor of new techniques. In 1911 he developed the method of roentgenokymography that made it possible to record the mobility of internal organs, particularly that of the heart and great vessels. He obtained a patent for it (No. 27891, Kl 57a, 56, 1939, 17. VI). He described the kymograph of his invention as follows: "two parallel tape-like metal strips a couple of millimetres apart, having the appropriate thickness so as not to let X-rays through, e.g. lead plates 1 mm thick, one of which is cut transversely in the middle of its length in the direction perpendicular to its longitudinal dimension, are connected in a movable way at the edges in such a way that both halves of the strips can be freely moved apart. A rectangular-shaped gap of any width can be obtained between those two halves by means of moving them over the uncut strip. There is a tape of film or photographic paper between those strips which can, using a clock device, be moved at any speed between those strips in the longitudinal direction by means of unwinding them from one cylinder and winding them onto the other one".

  Another method invented by Sabat was endoradiology. In the introduction to his article he described the new method as follows: "This work is a provisional report on the new roentgenographic method that I have developed, which is based on the fact that a roentgen picture is taken on films that are inserted, using special holders, to the lumen of organs, such as the rectum, stomach or oesophagus"
  Profesor Sabat received a thorough education; he studied in Munich under the supervision of W.K. Roentgen and then worked in Henryk Bequerel’s and Maria Skłodowska-Curie and Pierre Curie’s laboratories in Paris. He obtained a specialisation degree in radiology under the supervision of Guido Holzknecht, one of the pioneers of the world radiology.


  The first Polish radiologist who became a professor of radiology was Karol Mayer. In 1921 he obtained the position of the head of the Chair of Radiology in The Poznań University. Mayer graduated from the medical department of the Jagiellonian University, Kraków and since 1921 worked in the Kraków University Clinic directed by Prof. Jaworski. In 1914 he patented in Germany (Patentschrift Nr 274790) his own roentgen tube having two or more anodes (Fortschr. Roengenstr., 1916; 21:318. Mayer presented, as early as 1914, the principles of taking images using a tomography technique. In his book (Mayer K.: Radiologiczne rozpoznanie różniczkowe chorób serca i aorty z uwzględnieniem własnych metod badania /Radiological differential diagnostics of the heart and aorta diseases with the consideration of my own examination methods/) published by Gebethner & Wolf in 1916 (Kraków) he described the principles and practical uses (tomography images) of that technique, being considerably ahead of the world radiology. Unfortunately, that was not noticed in the scientific world.
  In 1926 he presented an interesting application of his method - the possibility to detect heavy metal compounds in the alimentary tract and the liver (Badanie rentgenowskie i radowe w otruciach /Roentgen and radium examination in intoxications/).
In 1929 Mayer patented anti-scattering apertures of his own invention. The one having a shape of mobile sieve was particularly interesting. In 1930 he also presented an idea of prolonged luminescence of the roentgen screen using elevated temperature.


  At that time in Paris a Pole Maria Skłodowska-Curie was active (born in Warsaw, on November 1867). She was one of the first women scientists to win worldwide fame. She had degrees (Sorbonne University, Paris) in mathematics and physics. Winner of two Nobel Prizes for Physics in 1903 (with her husband Pierre Curie) and for Chemistry in 1911 (alone), she performed pioneering studies with radium and polonium and considerably contributed to the understanding of radioactivity. She is a truly remarkable figure in the history of science and perhaps the most famous of all women scientists (the first woman in Europe to receive doctorate in sciences, the first woman to win a Nobel Prize for Physics, the first woman lecturer, the professor and head of a laboratory at the Sorbonne University of Paris, the first person ever to receive two Nobel Prizes, the first Nobel-Prize laureate mother of a Nobel-Prize laureate, the first woman who has been laid to rest under the famous dome of Pantheon in Paris).

  When World War I broke out she left her laboratory and research work to dedicate herself to radiological diagnostics on the battlefield. The great daughter of the Polish nation wrote letter to the War minister of France, Langvin: "As I cannot serve my motherland, I will serve my country of adoption". She established a front-line radiological service which she directed and in which she worked. She organised a network of 200 permanent radiological laboratories as well as 20 mobile car-borne ones, in which about 1,1 million radiological examinations were performed. She organised numerous training courses for doctors and technicians. Skłodowska's activity was of tremendous significance during the war, but it also contributed to the common application of X-rays in French medicine.

  Skłodowska has organized radiological courses for American Army radiologists. She was the first woman to receive a Gold Medal from the Radiological Society of North America in 1922, and the American College of  Radiology in 1931.

  Maria Skłodowska-Curie became an honorary president of III International Congress of Radiology. As the first person she obtained the title of an honorary member of the Polish Medical Society of Radiology.


  With the technical progress the number of doctors with radiological experience was becoming increasingly larger. They started to create organisations, circles and societies. The first Circle of Radiologists came into being in 1913 in Warsaw as a section of radiology of the Warsaw Medical Society. In Poznań the Poznań Radiological Society was established on June 30, 1925, later renamed the Circle.
The Polish Radiological Society was established during the XII Congress of Polish Doctors and Naturalists (13-15 July 1925) in Warszawa. Professor Karol Mayer became its first president.

  In 1926 the Society started to issue the scientific magazine "Polish Radiological Review" (previously, since 1907, a section Radiology was edited in the paper "Nowiny Lekarskie" issued in Poznań). The first editor-in-chief was professor Zygmunt Grudziński, an outstanding Polish radiologists. He developed a unique method of localising foreign bodies in the eyeball that has been used until now.

  Towards the end of the 1920s Assoc. Prof. Adam Elektorowicz from Warsaw started trials with arteriographic examinations. Initially, he performed them in dogs. He used 30% sodium iodide or 50-60% abrodil and thorotrast as the contrast medium. He performed percutaneous puncture of the aorta or the puncture of prepared femoral arteries under general anaesthesia.
At the beginning of the 1930s Oleński, Kieturakis and Szczerbo performed the first cerebral arteriography in Poland in a patient with a brain tumour. It was done in the Stefan Batory University Clinic of Surgery, Vilnius.

  The first Polish devices generating roentgen rays were assembled with elements from the equipment of physical or chemical laboratories. At the turn of the XIX century mass production devices were started to be purchased, mainly those manufactured by German companies, and later by French and American ones. With the development of roentgen diagnostics attempts to improve and manufacture the devices were made in the Polish lands, too. In 1912 in Warsaw the production of portable devices (Induktor-Progress) was assumed by the company Trojanowski i Markson; it manufactured them until 1914. A small roentgen device was constructed in 1925 in the company Woźniak - it was awarded a gold medal at the medical exhibition in Warsaw in 1925. In 1934 in Warsaw a large factory Rurix producing roentgen tubes was established. A number of smaller factories produced roentgen devices, too like that of Jan Babicki, the Borkowski brothers, Zygmunt Lisiecki and Feliks Walkowski.
Besides, in several Polish companies foreign-invented devices were assembled.
There was a number of companies producing accessories of elements of roentgen devices. Many of the products were designed by Polish doctors or engineers. The most interesting ones were the following:

  • in 1913/14 Prof. Antoni Cieszyński developed a number of devices facilitating radiological stomatological examinations;
  • in 1914 Dr Henryk Wachtel developed a localiser used in the case of double picture with the film shift, whereas in 1917 - a bathycopsometer, or a vertical depth scale for roentgen procedures (removing foreign bodies);
  • in 1922 Henryk Golberg developed a device for ion tube regeneration;
  • in 1925 Assist. Prof. Zygmunt Grudziński developed a modification of the so-called Peltason's screen that protected the radiologist against the patient coughing during the X-raying;
  • in 1925 Dr Józef Jaxa Chania-Dębicki developed a design of a device for radiological examinations in veterinary medicine; the design was presented at the International Congress of Radiology in 1925 in London;
  • in 1926 the engineer Jan Bajoński developed a tube designed for high-voltage devices;
  • in 1926 the engineer Tadeusz Skrzywan developed a good modification of roentgen transformer; the design was purchased by the company Siemens;
  • in 1927 Franciszek Woźniak developed a device for the examination of the duodenum;
  • Zygmunt Lisiecki's company produced cassettes for X-ray films, a stand for Metalix lamps and a device called pointgraph (it reduced by four times a scheme drawn on the pane of the roentgen screen with a dermatograph);
  • in 1935 the radiologist professor Stanisław Januszkiewicz obtained a patent (No. 218782 of 19.08.1935) for the method of limiting the ionising radiation beam using the visible light, which is now commonly used in the X-ray apertures;
  • in the years 1936-39 the grid designed by the engineer Gustaw Choroszczak surpassed foreign constructions in terms of quality.

  The first factory of photographic paper in the Polish lands was established by Piotr Lebiedziński in 1888 in Warsaw. Photographic paper used for radiological examinations was manufactured there, too. In 1933 the factory was restructured and modernised (it was called FOTON) - films and reagents used in radiography were produced in it. In 1933-36 in Warsaw the factory FOTO came into being (based on the tradition of the factory of upholstery and paper Franaszek that had existed since 1829), which produced photographic materials. After 1939 during the Second World War the factory FOTO took over the equipment and employees of the then destroyed factory FOTON. Radiological films were also produced by the factory Alfa in Bydgoszcz as well as the Poznań company Ewi.


  In the years 1923-24 a chemical factory based in Kalisz produced barium sulphate used as a contrast medium for the alimentary tract examinations. Since 1927 the production was resumed in the company Spies in Warsaw (the preparation called Gelobaryna). That company also produced another agent called Tetracontrast.
In the 1930s the firm Nasierowski i Ska produced contrast agents lipiodol and tenebryl (for urography).


  In the 1930s an important role in the development of the Polish radiology was played by professor Witold Zawadowski. Intensive training of young radiologists was started and research work was intensified. Zawadowski's work "O cieniach towarzyszących przyżebrowych" (The accompanying paracostal shadows) introduced his name into the world medical literature and became a classical source referred to in many textbooks of radiology world-wide.

In 1931 Polish radiologists were offered a comprehensive and modern textbook "Zarys rentgenologji - podręcznik dla lekarzy i słuchaczy medycyny" (An outline of roentgenology - a textbook for doctors and medical students) (published by Gebether & Wolf) by Dr Stanisław Rubinrot.


  In 1932 the "Polish Medical Dictionary of Radiology and Phototherapy" edited by Prof. Zygmunt Grudziński was published in Warsaw (in Polish, German, French and Latin). It played an important role because it unified the terminology used in everyday work of radiologists as well as didactic and research work.


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