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Medicine in Technicolor #354: Lester C. Hunt Papers

Color broadcasts on television were a novelty in 1960. But more than a decade before, the American medical community was experimenting with something new – medical color television.

The idea of broadcasting medical procedures had revolutionary implications for the education of medical professionals. Doctors, nurses and medical students had historically been limited to observing surgeries from a balcony in a surgical amphitheater. This was far from satisfactory. It was difficult to see what was happening on the operating table.

The pharmaceutical company Smith, Kline and French was the first to sponsor color television cameras in operating theaters. Poised above the operating table, the cameras captured complicated surgical procedures in action. They were then broadcast to audiences of doctors at medical conferences or medical students in classrooms.

Learn more about the early days of medicine in Technicolor in the Lester C. Hunt papers at UW’s American Heritage Center.

For more information, visit the American Heritage Center site.