Screening the healthy
X-ray tube (Metalix) and generator on a stand
Anton Philips, one of the biggest industrialists in the country at the start of the 20th Century, became interested in medical technology in the 1920s.
He was driven to expand his compentence beyond the booming industries of light bulbs and radios. Despite the fact that heat lamps and X-ray tubes were net losses for the company, Philips continued their development. The social insight of Philips led to above average working conditions, physical plant and medical care for workers.
Philips was one of the first firms to have an company medical service. This service would play an important role in combatting TB. Dr. G.E.C Burger was the head of the service in the 1920s. He saw that 20% of the absences from work were due to unnoticed TB cases. Anton Philips introduced periodic screenings of his workers, and later their families and pupils at the Philips schools.
This approach was so revolutionary that industries and even governments, such as France’s adopted this approach. Anton Philips lobbied the Dutch government in The Hague for a national information campaign.
This finally came after the Second World War.
How to cite this page
Bart Grob, 'Screening the healthy', Inventing Europe, http://www.inventingeurope.eu/story/screening-the-healthy
- Philips. Metalix: Gebruiksaanwijzing transportabel standaard apparaat 11414. Eindhoven: Philips' Verkoop-Maatschappij voor Nederland, 1952.