Skip to main content

The DUI Guide: DUI Evidentiary Breath Test Devices (Alcometer)

Posted by attorney David Jolly

Published with permission from the book, DUI/DWI: The History of Driving Under the Influence, David N. Jolly. Outskirts Press (2009)

The DUI Guide: DUI Evidentiary Breath Test Devices


In 1941 Professor Leon Greenberg, who was the Associate Director of the Department of Applied Physiology at Yale University, developed a breath testing device with the ability to measure alcohol called the “Alcometer." The alcometer employed a process where iodine vapour, starch and potassium iodide reacted with the breath of a subject and thereafter changed color depending on the level of alcohol present. The Alcometer was described as “a portable automatic laboratory" and would advance law enforcement in that:

[t]he police can now easily distinguish between the man who should be prosecuted for drunkenness and the man who appears to be inebriated but is actually suffering from sober shock and should be rushed to the hospital. Burgheim, Richard A. YaleCenterof Alcohol Studies Investigates Drinking Habits of Carefree Undergraduates. The Harvard Crimson (November 21, 1953)

Additional resources provided by the author

Author of this guide:

Was this guide helpful?

Filed under: DUI DUI defense

Avvo DUI email series

Sign up to receive a 3-part series of useful information and legal advice about DUIs.

Recommended articles about DUI

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer