In the 1950s, manufacturers of products ranging from ice cream to steel to cigarettes used “Accu-Ray” technology to ensure precision and quality control during production. When Chesterfield adopted Accu-Ray in 1953, the brand decided to use the technology as a marketing ploy, alerting consumers that state of the art modern methods were employed in the production of Chesterfield cigarettes. The implication was that the technology made the cigarette brand more healthy, when in fact all Accu-Ray did was measure consistency in the lengths of cigarettes and the amount of tobacco packed in each cigarette.
The Accu-Ray machine was shown in print advertisements with perfect cigarettes rolling down the conveyer belt and into the hands of a beautiful woman or handsome gentleman. Television commercials for Chesterfield also boasted the advancement, with a particular commercial airing a featured interview with Bert Chope, the president of Industrial Nucleonics, the makers of Accu-Ray. In the commercial, Chope explained how the machine worked in scientific terms: “It is a device by which a stream of electrons passes through and analyzes the product while it is actually being made. They transmit what they see to this electronic brain, which adjusts the production machinery for errors down to billionths of an inch.” his explanation was followed by Chope’s description of Accu-Ray’s effects on Chesterfields: “Every cigarette made with Accu-Ray Control contains a more precise measure of perfectly packed tobaccos, so Chesterfields smoke smoother, without hot spots or a hard draw.” The spokesperson interviewing Chope then made a non-sequitor claim that this technology is the reason Chesterfield “is best for you.” Here, Liggett & Myers conflates technology with healthfulness.
Ironically, Accuray is now the name of a completely unrelated company which develops and markets a robotic radiosurgery system known as the CyberKnife® which is used to treat cancerous tumors including tumors of the lung. The new company, Accuray, is coincidentally seeking to cure cancer under the same name as a technology which was used in the production of a product that caused cancer.