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Patient diagram of carbon monoxide detector invented in 1925 by Chester S Gordon and James T Lowe

This carbon monoxide detector was invented in 1925 by Chester S Gordon and James T Lowe of the American Telephone and Telegraph Company (patent US1644014A). The detector combined a reagent (palladium chloride) and a carrier solution in a glass vial covered with absorbent cotton. To test for carbon monoxide, a user crushed the glass, allowed the reagent solution to saturate the cotton, and watched to see if the covering grew dark. These early sensors were only semiquantitative (based on the degree of color change). (Contributed by Dr. Douglas J Lanska.)

Associated Disorders

  • Anoxic leukoencephalopathy
  • Carbon monoxide-induced parkinsonism
  • Delayed carbon monoxide encephalopathy
  • Late sequelae of carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Warehouse workers headache