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1946 X-Raying of a Jeep

• CATEGORIES: Features, Magazine, Old News Articles • TAGS: This site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated.

This is a real X-ray of a real jeep developed as a life-size image. Life Magazine, March 25, 1946.

In 1946 the wiz kids at the University of Rochester, NY, and Eastman Kodak built the world’s largest radiograph, one that could create an X-Ray photo of a large machine, say a jeep, which is precisely how they tested it. In the jeep’s case, the team used the million-volt x-ray machine to create a radiograph 12′ 1″ long by 4′ 1″ tall, or large enough to contain a life size jeep. The larger goal was create the ability to X-Ray large machinery.

The February 8th, 1946, issue of Rochester Democrat Chronicle shared the story:


The next month, Life Magazine also ran the story, this time with a copy of the X-ray photo (seen at top):



The jeep’s hood number is 20200556


8 Comments on “1946 X-Raying of a Jeep

  1. Keith

    2Years ago there was a large display of lifesize auto xrays at an art gallery on Nantucket. I recall a land rover and a VW bus. It was done with smaller xrays and built into a mosaic digitally.

    I suspect this is where they got the idea…

  2. Vintage Don

    Hahaha, probably!

    I’m just thinking about a giant X-Ray machine – blasting powerful X-Rays out at that Jeep and everything around it and behind it – for AN HOUR AND A HALF.

    Nowadays, when the Dentist takes the picture of your teeth, the exposure lasts a fraction of a second – and you have to wear a lead vest and the tech leaves the room to stand behind a shield. For a fraction of a second exposure…..

  3. Keith

    Well the background does look a little like nuclear winter (or Akron) but it’s Rochester…

  4. Dave C

    That’s the Rochester I remember. 🙂
    Look how flat those front springs are. Must have been a well worn jeep.

  5. JoeB

    Am I the only one who noticed that that’s a cemetery behind an iron fence in back of the x-ray target.

    Sure… It’s perfectly fiiiiine to blast a million watt x-ray emitter in that kind of general direction… in 1946.

    Hope nobody dropped by to pay homage to a deceased love one back there during that 90-minute ray gun shower.

  6. David Eilers Post author

    I haven’t spent much time in Rochester, but from everyone’s comments I guess I didn’t miss much?

    I couldn’t tell much from the x-ray photo, but then I’m not very experienced at ready x-ray images. It’s not clear to me how useful this would be? However, it might make a great death ray at that power!

    Just how far would x-rays travel?

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