‘Breathalyzer’ Is Not a Police Tool — It’s a Brand Name


We all know ‘Kleenex’ and ‘Jello’ as commonplace terms for household items; marketing can create a powerful effect on generations. There’s also plenty we don’t even realize:

When most think of ‘Breathalyzers’ the image of police likely comes to mind — a generic tool used by law enforcement, not unlike a gun or flashlight.  An Indiana University professor, Rolla N. Hargen, first invented the Drunkometer in 1938 to sense alcohol content by having subjects breath into a balloon. In 1954 another Indiana University professor, Robert F. Borkenstein, invented the Breathalyzer, borrowing concepts used by the Drunkometer in a much more practical, portable platform. ‘Breathalyzer’ is still trademarked by the Indiana University Foundation to this day.

It’s like finding out ‘taser’ is actually a brand name, not just a generic term. Oh wait, that’s trademarked too…



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