The New Aurora, a medical X-ray device, was manufactured around 1918 (Taisho 7). Some of these devices were known to have served reliably as diagnostic devices for about 50 years.
A simple comparison with devices today, which reflect the rapid technological advances that have been made, is not easy to make. However, these older X-ray devices can serve as testament to the amount of technology and enthusiasm that was poured into them when they were made.
1918 was around the time that radiological devices were being adopted on a major scale in the medical community in Japan. Within a climate where imported products were attracting much attention, Shimadzu had to fight alone as the only domestic manufacturer. During this period, an X-ray device was the most expensive item that a hospital had, among the numerous machines that they acquired. These were high-tech devices that could not be acquired by just anyone. The New Aurora was finished with lacquer using traditional Kyoto techniques, and by many doctors it was seen as a status symbol.
Genzo Junior succeeded in producing an X-ray image in 1896 (Meiji 29). A year later, they produced X-ray device for educational purposes. For more than 10 years they performed additional research, and finally, in 1909 (Meiji 42), they were able to begin selling the first medical X-ray device manufactured in Japan.
The scale of the device was quite large, so at some hospitals it could not fit in through the front doors.
Genzo Junior always spoke about the necessity for "making practical use of science."
He felt that a knowledge of science could only have true meaning if it was put to practical use in the form of products, rather than simply being used for theoretical discussions.
By some, he was seen to be advising pure craftsmanship, without being concerned about the location where the product would be used.
Improvements to the Shimadzu X-ray devices were made constantly, enhancing their level and making them easier to use. Later, in the Taisho period (1912 to 1926) greater focus was placed on craftsmanship, and the devices were made more compact and durable.
The resulting device became what could probably be described as Japan's first lightweight, compact X-ray device, the New Aurora. Since it was simple and easy to use, it was not long before its popularity swept the nation and it was adopted by large hospitals as well as small clinics.