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The history of catalytic converter

The catalytic converter was invented by Eugene Houdry, a Frenchmechanical engineer and expert in catalytic oil refining who livedin the United States. Around 1950, when the results of earlystudies of smog in Los Angeles were published, Houdry becameconcerned about the role of automobile exhaust in air pollution andfounded a special company, Oxy-Catalyst, to develop catalyticconverters for gasoline engines - an idea ahead of its time forwhich he was awarded a patent (US2742437). Widespread adoption hadto wait until the extremely effective anti-knock agent tetra-ethyllead was eliminated from most gasoline over environmental concerns,as the agent would "foul" the converter by forming a coating on thecatalyst's surface, effectively disabling it.

The catalytic converter was further developed by John J. Mooneyand Carl D. Keith at the Engelhard Corporation,creating the firstproduction catalytic converter in 1973.

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