My article in
Diabetes Wellness Letter on "Meter Memories" was
only possible because of four great interviews that I was able to
obtain. The marketing expert was Charlie Suther, the first patient
to use the meter was Dick
Bernstein, and the inventor was Tom Clemens. Michael
Miller had been credited as the inventor of the first meter, and his
interview clarified his role.
is the Ames Reflectance Meter that Tom loaned me. Here I am together
with my cockatiel "Knyaz." The meter says inside the flap
at the top:
Ames Company, Division Miles Laboratories Inc., Elkhart, Indiana,
I started working on the article as a labor of love even before the
magazine gave me the assignment. I realized that the invention of
blood glucose meters was extremely important, but little known. In
fact, when I started working on it, I didn�t even know that the first
blood glucose monitor was the Ames Reflectance Meter. Based on what
somebody had told me I thought the first meter was the Eyetone and
even said that in an article a couple of years earlier.
Very little of the history of blood glucose meters had previously
been published. Most important was the introduction to Dr. Bernstein�s
Diabetes Solution by Richard K. Bernstein, M.D. (Little, Brown,
1997). Dr. Bernstein has also made this available online.
It was Michael Reynolds, the founder of www.DiabetesWebSite.com,
who gave me the lead to Charlie Suther. Michael told me that Charlie
was working for Polymer Technology Systems in Indianapolis. In fact,
he had retired from that company, but the receptionist told me that
he still lived in town.
The first page of the first patent for the Ames Reflectance
Meter, the first blood glucose meter, issued September 14, 1971. The
inventor was Anton Hubert (Tom) Clemens, who kindly lent his copy
of the patent to me.