ENAMELED SILVER AND GOLD CHAIN OF OFFICE, English, 1935, engraved on the reverse “Presented by Leo A. Rowden M.B., C.M., February 1935.” The 3-1/2″ (9 cm) tall large oval pendant has a central blue and white enameled device with central stone and gold and silver inlay, surrounded by a silver wreath set with semi-precious stones. The reverse has a locket, and the pendant is suspended from a 1-1/2″ diameter armorial in similar materials. This connects to two 8″ long chains with scientists’ names (Hauksbee, Faraday, Crookes, Thompson, Roentgen, Hittorf, Nollet, and Guericke) alternating with blue enameled panels, bearing symbolism suggestive of X-rays and their generation. The chains are connected by blue ribbon. This rare survival is complete and in excellent condition throughout.
This impressive chain of office is for the Society of Radiographers, founded in 1920, open to those with at least ten years continuous employment in electro-therapeutic or X-ray departments. Examinations were required for admission. In 1921 there were 67 members, but by 1995, there were 13,500, and the Society continues today. We find records of Leo Rowden, the presenter of this chain; he advocated extensive use of X-rays for their ability to gauge internal dimensions with great accuracy: “Every woman should have her pelvic measures, accurately determined by radiography, engraved on the inside of her wedding-ring.”
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David and Yola Coffeen both have enjoyed academic careers, as planetary astronomer and as linguist/educator. But since 1982 (yes, 1982!) they have been full-time dealers in early scientific and medical instruments, under the name Tesseract. Selling primarily by catalogue (over 100 issued so far) they also have a web presence at www.etesseract.com, and can be contacted at email@example.com.