shopping was hazardous to your health!
When I was young my family lived way out in the country. As children we came to town to go to school, but the town was small and had no stores. To shop, we had to travel one town over and the store choices there were very limited.
Just about now, at the start of every school year, we went into town to buy a new pair of shoes. The shoe store was a Buster Brown dealer in the basement of the building that housed the town's only drug store. Yes, in the old days they were called drug stores rather than pharmacies.
If we behaved ourselves in the shoe store my parents would treat us to a cherry coke and hamburger at the drug store's soda fountain. I loved the drug store. They sold jewelry, gold compacts, and perfume. I still remember the wonderful smells in the back of the store, in the cosmetics department, just past the greasy hamburgers at the soda fountain. Yes, I even miss the greasy hamburgers.
As you will see, behaving in the shoe store was extremely difficult for any child. The store prided itself on being a very modern shoe store catering to children. There was very little selection, so deciding on a pair of shoes didn't command a great deal of time, but making sure the shoes fit properly did. This is where the behavior problem surfaces. The store had what could be called an attractive nuisance, known today as a health hazard.
A modern device called a Shoe-fitting Fluoroscope was installed in the store to insure that every child's shoes fit properly. All you had to do was lift your children onto the machine wearing their new shoes, stick their feet inside the opening and turn on the x-ray. Ill fitting shoes was obviously a higher health risk than prolonged exposure to x-rays.
There were three ports for viewing the x-ray. One for the child, one for the mother, and one for the sales person. You could see the bones in your feet and the outline of your shoes in a very eerie green color. You could even watch your toes wiggle.
While mother was busy with the twins my sister and I would take turns x-raying our feet. Then one of us would sit on the machine and stick our hands in the opening so the other could watch our fingers move. You could even slide your little handbag in the opening, climb up, and x-ray its contents. What a cool machine.
What a cool machine? It was soon discovered that the hazards from radiation weren’t worth the proper fit of children's shoes:
The primary component of a shoe-fitting x-ray unit was the fluoroscope which consisted essentially of an x-ray tube mounted near the floor and wholly or partially enclosed in a shielded box and a fluorescent screen. The x-rays penetrated the shoes and feet and then struck the fluorescent light. This resulted in an image of the feet within the shoes. The fluorescent image was reflected to three viewing ports at the top of the cabinet, where the customer, the salesperson, and a third person (your mother?) could view the image at the same time.
The radiation hazards associated with shoe fitting x-ray units were recognized as early as 1950. The machines were often out of adjustment and were constructed so radiation leaked into the surrounding area.
Fortunately we only purchased shoes once or twice a year. Fortunately the danger of x-rays to the human body became publicized and the machines were removed.
It appears the x-rays had no effect on me or my sister. Neither of us glows in the dark. Probably due to the ingestion of greasy hamburgers and cherry cokes immediately after exposure.