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Machlett Laboratories

The company began as E. Machlett and Son which was founded in 1897 in New York, United States as scientific glass makers.

Early Days

Additional recommended knowledge

Machlett Laboratories was created from E. Machlett & Sons in order to exploit the then new technology of X-Rays. They would make X-Ray tubes from the beginning to 1989 when they were bought by Varian. In addition to making X-Ray tubes they also manufactured high power vacuum tubes for use in radio and TV broadcasting and for industrial induction heating. These two sides of the business were about equivalent for most of the life of the company.

They moved to 1063 Hope St., Stamford in Connecticut in the early 20th Century, and remained there. Amongst their achievements was a counter made by them for Irene and Frederic Joliot-Curie for use in their experiments on artificial radioactivity in 1934 which is currently contained in the Science Museum in Great Britain. They were given an “E” award by the US government in 1945 for their contribution to the war effort. [1]

X-Ray Tubes

They were the first company to utilize the concept of the rotating anode, something which is just about universal in medical x-ray systems at this date. Towards the end of the time of manufacture, they were producing oil circulating x-ray tubes with a heat exchanger attached (for use with CT scanners), with 5” diameter rotating anodes formed from tungsten-rhenium alloy and molybdenum, with a large mass of graphite attached to act as a heat sink. Smaller tubes without graphite heat sinks had highly radiative coatings to disperse the generated heat into the oil surrounding the tube itself.

The manufacture of X-Ray tubes was licensed to two other companies, GEC Medical and Comet SA of Bern in Switzerland.


As well as X-Ray tubes, they manufactured collimators – to define the beam size – and three marks of “Dynalyser” – an invasive instrument for measuring all the important parameters in an X-Ray tube. This consisted of an HV unit insulated with SF6 , and an indicating unit. A separate radiation monitor could be used with this, and an oscilloscope could also be attached to this device if desired. Some 2,500 of the most recent version were sold, and this device survived the sale of the company to Varian and later buyers, being in production from the early 1980s to around 1995.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Machlett_Laboratories". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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