Following the advice I got from the user Semaphore I would like to split my original airport security question into separate parts and go into a bit more detail in regards to what I would like to know about those pictures, and this one in particular.
Just hate going through airport security with all those new gizmos, c. 1960.
Taken at Atlanta Municipal Airport during testing for their first security instruments.
That was before the first hijacking of a commercial flight in the US, if I am not mistaken!
Do you think it is real?
It seems to be taken at that time indeed, but... What sort of device would it be technically? The graphs on the paper show some repeating cycles... And the two vertical bars in there do not really look like a magnetometer to me. Also I do not think such things were even being developed back in those days as something for use on humans...
Even if the picture postdates the first hijackings, my impression is still that before 1968, both the airlines and the passengers viewed them as more of an inconvenience, rather than terrorism act or something. So, everyone was opposed to the idea of screening passengers, as that would just scare them off, and lead to costs for the carriers. Federal agents could be deployed on flights upon request from 1961... Apparently it was considered sufficient back then really. On top of that I do not think Atlanta was a place very popular with hijackers...
Also the facial expression of the woman and the other photographer in the background suggest that it was something staged. I feel it could be that someone just found it, and said it was airport security as a joke or a prank, because that was the first thing they thought upon seeing this...
The picture is circulated in the web with this description, but I could not find any more information on it. And that just makes me even more interested to know what is actually happening there.
If anyone knows what these things are all about, and how it used to work back then, I would absolutely love to hear that. So any explanations strongly appreciated! Thank You!