On this day: December 31

POSTED: 02:25 AM PST Dec 29, 2012    UPDATED: 11:00 PM PST Dec 30, 2015 

Times Square holds its first New Year's Eve celebration, the board game Monopoly is patented, "Calvin and Hobbes" say goodbye, and the U.S. relinquishes control of the Panama Canal, all on this day.

OTD December 31 - drunkometer
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1938: Police in Indianapolis, Indiana, put the "drunkometer," invented in 1931 by Indiana University professor Rolla N. Harger and patented in 1936, to its first practical New Year's Eve test as a breath analyzer. A suspected drunken driver would breathe into a balloon and the breath sample was then pumped through an acidified potassium permanganate solution. If there was alcohol in the breath sample, the solution changed color. The greater the color change, the more alcohol there was present in the breath. Pictured here with Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Police Chief William Hershner is the 1950s model.


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