Shaving with X-rays

It wasn't long after the discovery of x-rays, that people realized they could be used to remove body hair. In 1899, the American X-Ray Journal noted the "epilating properties of the X-Rays," and suggested that hair removal might be a profitable side-business for x-ray technicians.

However, as far as I can tell, it wasn't until 1945 that anyone got around to patenting the idea of x-ray hair removal. The patent was granted to Violet Arnold of Detroit. Columnist Frederick Othman wrote about it in a Dec 1945 column:

Her boyfriend was the inspiration, with his whiskery chin. Now he has no whiskers, thanks to U.S. Patent Number 2,389,403, the X-ray razor...
Miss Arnold's shave consists of two X-ray treatments of five to ten minutes each with the rays going through an aluminum plate before they hit the whiskers. That makes 'em curl up. Then she attacks the wilted whiskers nine more times in five weeks with rays going through aluminum and a bottle of water, too.

Amarillo Globe Times - Dec 3, 1945

The X-ray razor never caught on, probably because of the risk of serious, disfiguring burns. However, the idea lingered on in popular culture for a few years and was featured in several ad campaigns.

Crowley Post-Signal - Dec 12, 1952

Washington Court House Record-Herals - Jan 6, 1953

     Posted By: Alex - Sun Dec 29, 2019
     Category: Inventions | Patents | Technology | 1940s

That's ok, but just wait until you see what you can remove if you use gamma rays instead.
Posted by Virtual in Carnate on 12/29/19 at 09:02 AM
What could possibly go wrong?
Posted by Brian on 12/29/19 at 01:42 PM
My brother is an X-Ray technician and once told me a story, probably cautionary, of how radiology students during the 1930's would expose their gonads to the beam before going out on a hot and heavy date. It would render them temporarily sterile. As for the long term effects, he didn't elaborate but I suspect that those guys didn't survive into old age.
Posted by KDP on 12/29/19 at 06:38 PM
The late Robin Williams said that propofol is like doing chemotherapy because you're tired of shaving your head. This is literally doing chemotherapy because you're tired of shaving.
Posted by Yudith on 12/30/19 at 07:10 AM

Chemotherapy is the use of chemical compounds (it is in the name) in treatment. Radiation therapy (including x-rays) is the name for treatment using intense energies to treat cancer.
Posted by Floormaster Squeeze on 12/30/19 at 10:16 AM
Posted by Yudith on 12/31/19 at 08:02 AM
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.