Why can NRC not take part in the COMP 2017 competition to find the oldest piece of working medical physics equipment?

Published by Mara Juneau

Published on April 19, 2017

Here’s one reason:

This is a Kelley-Koett x-ray unit. The control panel indicates an operating range of 20-100 kV.

The manufacturer’s plate gives the following:

 and the magic of a certain search engine provides some further information:

“The Kelley-Keott Manufacturing Company was located at 212 West Fourth Street in Covington, Kentucky in 1949. It was founded by John Kelley and Albert Koett. In 1950, it was located at 125 East 6th Street. In 1950, they relocated to 966-10 York Street, Cincinnati, Ohio. It was advertised as the “Leading Manufacturer of Instruments for the Atomic Age”. In 1948, they announced the “Keleket” Instrument Division for the production of high quality instruments for the detection of radiation. They also claim to be manufacturers of fine x-ray equipment since 1900.” (http://national-radiation-instrument-catalog.com/new_page_85.htm)"

Given the manufacturing plate we can establish that this unit was produced some time in 1949 or 1950, making it 67 years old! But does it still work? NRC has a habit of storing old stuff, “just in case”, so it might just be junk....

The answer is yes. Combining this venerable unit with Polaroid 72 instant B&W film (also obsolete) we acquired some pretty decent radiographs of diode detectors:

though the results are quite impressive, COMP members can be reassured that the unit is not currently used to provide calibrations of therapy ion chambers!! However, if faced with government cuts in funding sometime in the future we may be forced to bring it out of retirement……. At least we know it works!


 So, knowing that NRC is out of the picture, here’s your chance to submit your entry for Canada’s oldest piece of working medical physics equipment. We already know there are some interesting items out there (Saskatoon, perhaps not surprising, appears to be an ROI for historical artefacts) but there’s still plenty of time to participate. If you have something to “show and tell” please contact Malcolm McEwen at the NRC.