Screening the healthy

More about this object

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,


  1. Philips. Metalix: Gebruiksaanwijzing transportabel standaard apparaat 11414. Eindhoven: Philips' Verkoop-Maatschappij voor Nederland, 1952.

This tour is related to the temporary Exhibition in the Boerhaave Museum



This story is available in multiple languages.


About this tour


Tuberculosis in the European Domain

Business, science and disease have flowed over borders for centuries. Starting in the 19th century, the connections between all three began to intensify. While people were increasingly on the move and cities more crowded, new knowledge about the cause of disease and new technologies for controlling it were being developed both at universities and private firms. Follow the long trail of TB through Europe.



Warning: urldecode() expects parameter 1 to be string, array given in /home/invene/domains/ on line 587

What's like this?

Fighting tuberculosis

Back to top