The Scientific War Work of Linus C. Pauling Narrative  
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Mass Production
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After discussing the apparatus with Pauling, A. O. Beckman accepted a contract with Caltech for the manufacture and distribution of the Pauling oxygen meter. While he admitted the meter was well constructed, he was concerned by the difficulty nature of the glass spheres. Beckman's solution was to create what was then the world's smallest glass-blowing device which allowed the bulbs to be made in a quick and efficient manner. Through this and a few other innovations, Beckman soon found himself capable of manufacturing nearly 100 units monthly, ten times faster than what Pauling and his team could have hoped to achieve.

For the remainder of the war, Pauling continued to oversee the production and distribution of the oxygen meter. Beckman, with his refined manufacturing process, succeeded in equipping the British navy - and, to a lesser extent, the U.S. military - with hundreds of oxygen meters. Customized models were also provided to laboratories and government institutions in both the U.S. and abroad, and were instrumental in the development of life-support system for both pilots and submariners. But it wasn't just soldiers and scientists that benefited from the meter's development. As partial owner of the meter's patent, Caltech enjoyed a meaningful royalty income from the device. Beckman also profited greatly from the apparatus, using its popularity to boost the value of his company and eventually selling Beckman Instruments for a cool one million dollars. Pauling, Wood, and Sturdivant also received royalties, though a mere fraction of Caltech's intake. For them it did not matter. They had been charged with the task of saving lives and had succeeded admirably.

The use of Pauling's oxygen meter did not end with the war. Following the close of hostilities, the meter was repurposed for the incubators used to house and protect premature babies. Hospital staff were now able to maintain safe oxygen levels, reducing brain damage and death among infants. Pauling was proud of his instrument's peacetime applications and occasionally noted it as one of his more significant accomplishments.

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Audio Clip  Audio: The Birth and Production of the Pauling Oxygen Meter. August 23, 1991. (2:31) Transcript and More Information

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See Also: Letter from Linus Pauling to the California Institute Research Foundation. May 12, 1942. 
See Also: Letter from Linus Pauling to E.C. Barrett. June 12, 1942. 
See Also: Letter from Linus Pauling to Reuben Wood. September 2, 1942. 
See Also: Letter from Linus Pauling to Lloyd Spencer. December 4, 1944. 
See Also: "Oxygen Meter Has Its Postwar Uses." March 9, 1947. 

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Page 1
"Beckman Oxygen Analyzers and Recorders: General Information Bulletin." 1940s.


Page 1
"Pauling Oxygen Meter: Instructions." January 1945.

"Although the U.S. Navy argued over technical specification until the war was over and never became a major buyer, several hundred units were sold to the British navy. The machines was also used in aviation-medicine studies, industrial plants, and in the incubators of premature babies."

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