This glass dumbbell was key to the functioning of the Pauling Oxygen Meter, although production was tricky and originally required a human glass blower to shape the hollow ends of the tiny dumbbell with puffs of breath. This resulted in a lot of waste, as many glass bulbs burst due to human error and the mismatch between delicate, tiny instrument parts and human lung capacity. Arnold Beckman invented a new method of producing these bulbs with a small, consistent glassblowing machine to increase production speed.
Developed from a Linus Pauling design during WWII, the technology behind Beckman Instruments’ oxygen analyzers ended up doing such diverse jobs as monitoring astronauts’ respiration, maintaining packaged food safety, and preventing blindness in newborn babies.
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