The Franklin Institute Logo - click to go to Resources for Science Learning home page
Case Files Logo - click to go to Case Files home pageThe Case Files: William Coolidge. Vacuum Tube for X-Ray Production, 1926

Introduction: William Coolidge

After a childhood spent working on his family's farm in Massachusetts, William Coolidge earned a scholarship to M.I.T. and a fellowship at the University of Leipzig, which just happened to be the center of German scientific research at the time. He seemed destined to a brilliant career in scientific invention. In fact, his X-Ray Coolidge Tube radiates brilliantly as his chief legacy.

But who was William D. Coolidge? How did he get the idea for his X-Ray Coolidge Tube?

These pages hold the answers to these questions and tell the fascinating story of this man's work.

Coolidge's X-Ray Tube Instruction Book states that "This book will help your operator see that he gets it." Browse the pages of the Instruction Book and see if you get it. Click on the image at the right to open the booklet and turn back the pages of time.

Use the dropdown menus above or the list below to access the pages in the William Coolidge story: