The inventor of the catalytic muffler, Eugene Houdry, was a Frenchman interested in reducing the pollution released into the air by automobile exhaust pipes. He started his line of inventions with a catalytic process that effectively doubled the amount of useable oil that could be produced from crude oil. He produced high-grade gasoline from low-grade fuel.

His catalytic “cracking” process was used by the French military for World War II, in producing high-quality aviation fuel. Before long, the rest of the world caught on and the United States was also using Houdry’s process for manufacturing fuel for their planes.

Also during World War II, Houdry invented a single-step butane dehydration process for manufacturing synthetic rubber. Rubber was in high demand for various vehicles in the war. So, Houdry’s process was quickly put into action and used on a large scale.

Following the war, Houdry turned his attention to improving the environment, wanting to reduce the carbon footprint of automobiles. He started the company Oxy-Catalyst to focus on developing a way to reduce emissions.

The catalytic muffler was his final great creation, patented in 1962, the year he died. Using some of the technology of his prior inventions, Houdry outdid himself with the catalytic converter for automobile mufflers that effectively reduced carbon dioxide and hydrocarbon emissions released into the atmosphere by vehicles. Today this Frenchman’s invention is also an American standard, an integral part of automobile manufacture in the states, keeping the air a great deal cleaner than it would otherwise be.