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Why Music Object Spotlight

As Radio 3 takes up residence at Wellcome Collection in London to explore what makes music a vital part of being human, comedian and actor, Gryff Rhys Jones explores a history of health through objects on display.

Pohl Omniskop X-Ray Machine

Made in Kiel, Germany, 1925-1935.

  • X-rays were discovered by Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen on the 8th of November 1895
  • This omniscope is over two metres tall and the patient was strapped in the middle, so the doctor could rotate the x-ray around them, taking individual snapshots
  • It was owned by German Jewish doctor Ernst Rachwalsky, who worked in Berlin in the 1920s and specialised in stomach problems
  • The machine was imported to the UK when Ernst emigrated after life became increasingly dangerous for Jewish people in Germany following the rise of the Nazi Party
  • Ernst used it until his retirement in 1962.
Image: Science Museum, London

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Object spotlight: Omniskop X-Ray Machine

Gryff Rhys Jones and Simon Chaplin discuss an early 20th century X-ray machine.

This is one of five objects explored as part of Why Music a partnership between BBC Radio 3 and Wellcome Collection.