Rolla Neil Harger

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Rolla Neil Harger (January 14, 1890 – August 8, 1983) invented an early breathalyzer, called the Drunkometer to test for driving under the influence in 1931 and he was awarded the patent in 1936.[1][2] He was biochemistry and pharmacology department chairman of the Indiana University School of Medicine from 1933 to 1956 and worked as a professor in the department of biochemistry and toxicology from 1922 to 1960.[1]

Harger was born on January 14, 1890 in Nebraska or in Decatur County, Kansas.[3] He graduated from Yale University in 1922 and was hired as an assistant professor at Indiana University School of Medicine in the newly formed department of biochemistry and pharmacology.[4]

In 1931 invented the Drunkometer to test for driving under the influence. In 1938 he was one of the five people chosen to be on the subcommittee of the National Safety Council that drafted the model legislation that set the blood alcohol content for driving under the influence.[1]

He died on August 8, 1983.[1][5]


  1. ^ a b c d "Rolla N. Harger Dies; Invented Drunkometer". Associated Press in the New York Times. August 10, 1983. Retrieved 2013-12-23.
  2. ^ "Driving Under the Influence". National Museum of American History. Retrieved 2014-01-02.
  3. ^ He used Nebraska on his WWI draft registration and Decatur County, Kansas on his WWII draft registration
  4. ^ "History of the Department". Indiana University School of Medicine. Retrieved 2014-01-03.
  5. ^ Ellis, Ian. "August 8 - Today in Science History - Scientists born on August 8th, died, and events". Retrieved 2016-10-02.