Walter B. Cozzens


Walter B. Cozzens was an inventor who contributed to the development of the modern electrocardiogram.

Cozzens was born in Jamestown, New York, and raised near Chicago. He did not have a formal education in engineering, but had tinkered with radios and crystal sets since his childhood. Before World War II, he was a radio salesman.

Like many pioneers in electrical engineering, the military trained Cozzens in radar technology and electronics during the war. In the late 1940s, Cozzens applied this knowledge to experiments in medical technology in his garage. With a partner, Michael J. Cudahy, Cozzens started a company, now called Marquette Medical Systems, to make medical monitoring devices.

They created a device that automatically sent the lines and waves of an electrocardiogram to microfilm and made the measurement process automatic. Doctors no longer had to use rulers and paper to measure these lines before they could make a diagnosis.

Their company expanded to employ 3,200 people and generate $500 million in revenue each year. It specialized in equipment for measuring heart function. These devices included digital electrocardiogram monitors and cardiac stress tests. It became a publicly traded company in 1992 and was purchased by General Electrical in 1998. Cozzens retired as executive vice president in 1993 and he died in 1998.