Victoreen Model 61720 Fallout Detection Meter (ca. 1961-1962)

 Victoreen Model 61720 Fallout Detection Meter

At the height of the cold war during the Cuban missile crisis, the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) was swamped with requests from the public for radiation detectors. Since OCD was not in the business of supplying instrumentation to the public, several companies stepped in to fill the need. Bendix, for example, produced the Family Radiation Measurement Kit. At the time, the Victoreen Instrument Company was in the midst of a huge production run of CD V-720 ion chambers for OCD and it was very easy for them to market a slightly modified version to the public. That modified gamma-only version of the CD V-720 was known as the Model 61720 Victoreen Fallout Detection Meter. Most likely, the 61 in the model number refers to 1961 and the 720 refers to CD V-720.

 Victoreen Model 61720 Fallout Detection Meter label

The major difference between the CD V-720 and the Fallout Detection Meter was that the latter lacked the CD V-720's beta detection capability.

Quoting one of the company's advertisements for the Fallout Meter: "Unlike some pocket devices [a veiled reference to the Bendix Family Radiation Measurement Kit] which only show amount of exposure after you've been exposed, the Victoreen Fallout Meter tells you at a glance the rate of exposure at moment of exposure… helps you seek a safe refuge immediately. A precision instrument for protecting against lethal gamma rays from atomic fallout, it is the civilian version of the official model sold to the Government by Victoreen."

Detector: Plastic lined steel ion chamber

Range: 0-5, 0-50, 0-500 R/h

Audio: None

Material: Metal case

Batteries: Two 1.5-volt D cells

Price: $49.95


  • Victoreen Advertisement.
  • Victoreen Brochure. Fallout Detection Meter. Form 3146-61.
  • Victoreen Instruction and Maintenance Manual for the Victoreen Fallout Detection Meter. Form 1086-61.