Robert Frank Borkenstein

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Robert Frank Borkenstein
Born (1912-08-31)August 31, 1912
Fort Wayne, Indiana, U.S.
Died August 10, 2002(2002-08-10) (aged 89)
Bloomington, Indiana, U.S.
Nationality American
Occupation Police officer, scientist
Known for Inventor of the Breathalyzer

Robert Frank Borkenstein (August 31, 1912 – August 10, 2002) was an American police officer and scientist, and inventor of the Breathalyzer.[1]


Borkenstein was born on August 31, 1912 in Fort Wayne, Indiana.[1]

In 1938, Borkenstein collaborated with Rolla Neil Harger of the Indiana University School of Medicine developing the Drunkometer.[2] He joined the Indiana State Police in 1936 and was later promoted to captain in charge of the police force's forensic laboratory.[1] He later went on to invent the Breathalyzer in 1954.[2]

Borkenstein did a lot of early work on the polygraph. [3][4] and was a sought after expert on the device.[5]

Borkenstein was inducted into the Safety and Health Hall of Fame International in 1988. He became a widower in 1999 when Marjorie K. Buchanan, his wife, died.[1]

Borkenstein died on August 10, 2002 in Bloomington, Indiana at the age of 89.[1]


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