- IU Historical Marker (2020)
Indiana University dedicated a historical marker in 2020 about the creation of the Drunkometer and Breathalyzer. The marker text follows:
After Prohibition, IU researchers were at the forefront of inventions designed to test for alcoholic intoxication by automobile drivers. Rolla N. Harger, professor of biochemistry and toxicology, invented the Drunkometer, a portable device to measure the concentration of alcohol in breath, patented in 1936. Consulting with the National Safety Council in 1938, Harger helped draft model legislation to use intoxication tests for motorists and to set limits for blood alcohol concentration that were incorporated into drunken driving laws around the U.S. In 1954, Robert F. Borkenstein, a staff member at the Indiana State Police forensic laboratory, developed a smaller, more efficient device, the Breathalyzer, patented in 1958. Studies confirmed the accuracy of the device and the efficacy of 0.08 blood alcohol limit, now an international standard. Borkenstein became chair of the IU Department of Police Administration (now Criminal Justice) in Bloomington in 1958.