The third invention was to wind the glass fibres on a wheel and glue them together at one point—at which they were cut. At this point the fibres were enclosed in a loose sheath so they were entirely flexible. Where they were cut, the fibres coincided with each other so that an image put at one end came out at the other in dots, like the image of a newspaper photograph. A new family of flexible endoscopes quickly emerged, making it possible to perform gastroscopy, colonoscopy, bronchoscopy, cystoscopy and laryngoscopy without danger or great discomfort. The instruments made it possible to take biopsies, cut strictures, remove stones, destroy small tumors and stop bleeding with diathermy or laser.
Dr. Hopkins first filed a patent application for the rod-lens system in 1959. However, the English and American companies to whom he offered the system displayed little interest. The situation changed in 1965 when Professor George Berci informed Karl Storz, a manufacturer of precision medical instruments, about the principle of the rod-lens system. Berci had visited a trade fair in Cologne, Germany, and his attention had been drawn to the principle of the