Stanley Clark: inventor of the first battery-operated blood glucose monitor 3 February 2022 An electronics engineer who worked primarily in television manufacturing, Stanley Clark’s greatest design achievement came about through his other role: that of a father to a young daughter with type 1 diabetes. The inventor of the first portable battery-operated blood-glucose monitor, Clark’s work has won praise across Australia for improving the quality of life for millions of people with diabetes. Born in Sheffield, England, on April 16, 1934, Stanley Clark migrated to Sydney in 1964 with wife Audrey Limb. Settling on the northern beaches, Clark took on the role of head of the electronics department at Thomas Electronics, a television-tube manufacturer. Two years later, he joined the Hanimex manufacturing group as an engineer in product development. It was during these years that Clark’s young daughter Lisa, who had lived with diabetes since she was five, was a regular visitor to the Camperdown children’s hospital for blood-glucose checks. At the time, children with type 1 diabetes could only have their blood glucose levels measured in hospital, or else rely on unpredictable urine glucose testing at home. Observing his daughter’s reactions to these hospital visits, Clark became aware of the trauma that surrounded these frequent admissions and decided there must be a less intrusive way to monitor blood glucose levels. And so it was, that after work each night Clark began to design a small, portable blood-glucose monitor that could be used by adults and children alike. Within weeks he had completed the design, and by 1979 he had manufactured monitoring machines for thirty children in the Camperdown children’s hospital. Collectively, these thirty children had spent 360 days in hospital over the previous year for blood glucose stabilisation. After a year using Clark’s blood-glucose monitor, the same children spent a combined total of just 54 days in hospital. Clark’s aim of lowering the frequency of hospitalisation for people with diabetes was being achieved rapidly. The Clarks established a factory in Dee Why for manufacturing of the now highly acclaimed monitor. Rumour has it that one was even sent to Russia for use by the then Soviet premier, Leonid Brezhnev. Clark’s daughter, Lisa Harris, now grown and an ambassador for Diabetes NSW & ACT, notes that the rise of multinational companies creating their own versions of the blood-glucose monitors made it difficult for their family-run business to survive. As Lisa says, ‘within six months we were out of business’. Clark’s important work as recognised with many awards, including the Order of Australia Medal for his distinguished service to diabetes, in 2001; the inaugural Diabetes Australia (National) Award in 1997; and the Diabetes Australia-NSW Diamond Jubilee Award. Stanley Clark passed away in 2011. His very first blood-glucose monitor produced in Australia is on display in the National Museum of Australia in Canberra. Find out more about the history of diabetes at our special 100 Years of Insulin site.