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Anti-smog device

Anti-smog device

May 22, 1960: UCLA researchers Richard D. Hopa, left, and Hiroshi Kimura demonstrate a new anti-smog device developed for automobiles.

This image accompanied a May 23, 1960, L.A. Times story that reported:

The Board of Supervisors was told yesterday of the development of a new device which sponsors aver will prevent up to 80% of nitrogen oxides, major ingredients of smog, from entering the air when attached to automobiles.

Supervisor Warren M. Dorn, impressed by a report on the smog trap given by Louis J. Fuller, enforcement director of the Air Pollution Control District, urged that descriptions of the mechanism be sent at once to national and state authorities and to automobile industry.

The appliance resulted from research over the last year by an APCD team of Wallace Linville and Yee Sing Yee and by UCLA scientists Richard D. Hopa and Hiroshi Kimura, it was reported by Fuller.

Five months of road testing indicate that the invention could, if put on all cars, keep about 375 tons of nitrogen oxides daily from the Los Angeles atmosphere….

“The device consists of a narrow tube to carry the exhaust gas forward from the tailpipe to the carburetor,” Fuller explained. “At the intake manifold a valve is installed to meter the flow of exhaust gases so that these can mix with the regular air-fuel mixture.”

Introduction of the cooled exhaust gases into the intake system of cars eradicates most of the oxides of nitrogen.

Once refined, this nitrogen oxide control technique, now called exhaust gas recirculation,  was introduced in many vehicle engines in the early 1970s.


  1. August 17, 2012, 12:43 pm

    Well done Scott. You came up with a very historical and significant archive photograph. I had no idea that UCLA Engineering was at the forefront of L.A.'s struggle for clean air. I remember well the darkness during the day that smog created throughout the Southland. As kids, anxious to play outside, our lungs were the first things to hold us back from full activity. L.A. is so much better now and we can thank those engineers for a cleaner environment.

  2. August 19, 2012, 6:12 pm

    Back in the early and mid sixties, I remember the blue smoky haze at ground level as I looked across the elementary school yard to my house that was across the street from the school…. Long Beach in those times…

    By: Wes
  3. August 17, 2012, 3:29 pm

    Yeah- it just does make more sense to put it right off the exhaust manifold up near the engine instead of at the back of the car. A simple pump accomplishes much initially in cost effectiveness. While I applaud the efforts, the end results have now two often become more a stream of sensitive mechanical nonsense programmed to periodically fail and to repeatedly sell to stressed out consumers. The oxygen sensor- now two or three to a car- is a very questionable product more of the den of thieves who run things- a catalytic converter is little more than another muffler with windoow screen material inside, that will predictably eventually just clog up. And how much smog has it actually retained? In places with no smog laws it is usually eventually sawn off and replaced with straight pipe and no one notices.__I think more important has been the elimination of leaded gas in the fight against smog. Exhaust gas recirculation is an importatnt contributer, but better still are just plain smaller engines and vehicles using less gas or no gas at all. __

  4. August 18, 2012, 11:04 pm

    As a former smog tech, this is pure nonsense.

  5. October 26, 2012, 8:52 pm

    I agree with dp, the development of emission control systems was troublesome at first. Catalytic converters survive for decades if engines are maintained properly. When on board computers were teamed with oxygen sensors, things improved steadily. Smaller engines were able to produce more power and do it more efficiently. The addition of turbochargers added even more to performance. I still drive 2 turbo Chrysler 4 cylinder cars that can easily get 33 to 34 MPG over an extended distance

  6. August 18, 2012, 8:37 am

    As a person who worked in a gas station to pay my college bills, i remember the NoX systems very, very well. The results were, a new program for the installation and maintenance of the system, which was perodically checked to ensure compliance. It was the birth of the auto smog tech.

    The ulitmate result was that cars were less efficient, spent more time in the repair shop and created a new industry.

    By: Steven Moshlak
  7. August 18, 2012, 11:07 pm

    This comment is a blatant exaggeration. All these smog devices had issues during their development as do all new technologies. In reality they were all very efficient and did their jobs very well.

  8. December 17, 2012, 11:14 am

    Its total black & white 🙂

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