Protection specialist reflects on 160 years of progress and looks forward to future innovation

X-ray protection and imaging accessories company Rothband started up 160 years ago in the Manchester home of W S Rothband himself, manufacturing small make-up/sponge bags from waterproof cloth that was “guaranteed not to crack.”

By 1900 WSRM trademarked rubber sheeting for bed protection was the mainstay of the business and, according to the company’s archives, was sold all over the world to “institutions for the poor, sanitaria, lunatic asylums, delinquents’ schools” and many hospitals in the UK.

Following the discovery of x-rays in 1895, a family member trained in chemistry suggested the addition of lead powder to the rubber mix and the company’s x-ray cloth was born. This discovery led to the development of Rothband leaded gloves and a range of aprons including double-sided, coat style, closed-side and theatre, which contributed greatly to the field of radiology safety.

The x-ray division of the business continued to expand and, in 2015, the business was acquired by a group led by former NHS radiographer Paul Dixon when the owners retired. Dixon had worked for Rothband as a manager and in management roles for multinational companies. He explained: “Rothband is a family concern so will continue to offer the personal service and attention to detail that made it prosper.” This philosophy has come into its own during the COVID-19 pandemic where the development and supply of protective equipment and systems has proved critical.

Rothband says it is now among the leaders in this field due to quality engineering, product innovation and
timely delivery.

Picture: The earliest surviving sales literature, dated January 28, 1911, featured the “proof” radiograph.

Published on page 32 of the September 2020 issue of RAD Magazine.

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