Commercially Sold Radiation Meters For CD Use

Bendix Radiation Kit Bendix Radiation Kit Box

During the height of the civil defense effort some radiation instruments were sold to the public for civil defense use. Here are some of the more common items I have found over the years. At the bottom of this page you can check out the "Criteria For Radiation Instruments For Use By The General Public" published in the Radiological Defense Planning An Operations Guide, March 1967.
Pictured above is the Bendix Family Radiation Measurement Kit that was sold in the 1960s. The price on the box is $24.95. This kit has a" Lafayette Radio Electronics" store price tag on it. See Lafayette Radio Advertisement Below.

The Bendix kit consists of instruments very similar to the Civil Defense issued dosimeters and charger with one difference, the CD V-736 Ratemeter. The CD V-736 instrument has 2 scales which are read in 1 and 10 minute time periods. This allows the measururement of radiation in a shorter time similar to a survey meter even though it's still a dosimeter. The instrument is just exposed for the appropriate period of time for the scale being read. The CD V-746 is a high range dosimeter that reads up to 600 roentgens total dose. It's interesting that these instruments also have the "CD-V" as part of their model number even this set was sold to the public. See a description and instructions for this kit of the instruments below.

Bendix Family Radiaton Kit Ratemeter, Dosimeter, And Charger

CD V 736 Dosimeter

CD V-736 Ratemeter

Range 1-120 Roentgens/Hr
(exposed for 1 minute)
Range 1-12 Roentgens/Hr
(exposed for 10 minutes
Reads Gamma Radiation

CD V 736 Ratemeter

CD V 746 Dosimeter

CD V-746 Dosimeter

Range 0-600 Roentgens
Reads Gamma Radiation

CD V 746 Scale

CD V-756 Dosimeter Charger

CDV 756 Charger Picture

This is the CD V-756 dosimeter charger that came with the Bendix kit. This charger is the same as the early Civil Defense issue Bendix (CD V-750 Model 5) charger but with a different color case and number.

Bendix Kit Fold-out Instruction Sheet

Bendix Kit Instruction Sheet 1
Bendix Kit Instruction Sheet 2

Click Images To See Larger

I also have a scan of the Bendix Kit Instruction and Maintanance Manual in Adobe PDF Format.

Early 1960s Lafayette Radio Electronics Advertisement For The Bendix Family Kit

Click To See Larger

Landsverk Fallout Radiation Measurement Set

Landverk Radiation Set
Click To See Larger

I didn't know that Landsverk ever sold a set like this until I saw this one for sale on ebay in mid-2004. It's very similar to the Bendix set seen above. This set has a "L-746" Personal Dosimeter (0-600 R) which is actually a "IM 93-UD Radiacmeter." The IM 93 label is visible under the paint on the dosimeter and on the scale of the dosimeter. The set also has a "L-730 Dosimeter/Ratemeter" which is basically a CD V-730 with an extra scale added. The extra scale added to the L-730 has 0-200 Roentgens/Hour dose-rate scale in addition to the 0-20 Roentgens scale. The dosimeter charger is marked as a CD V-750 Model 5A. I've never seen a CD V-750 made by Landsverk other than the one in this set. I believe this charger was made by Jordan since the internals and externals are identical to a Jordan CD V-750 Model 5A.

It is also interesting to note that this set is "CD Yellow" and that the charger displays the"CD" emblem. Click the photo to see a larger version.

Landsverk Fallout Radiation Measurement Set Ratemeter, Dosimeter, And Charger

Landsverk Fallout Radiation Measurement Set

L-730 Ratemeter

Range 1-200 Roentgens/Hr
(exposed for 6 minutes)
Range 1-20 Roentgens/Hr
(exposed for 1 hour)
Reads Gamma Radiation
L730 Scale


L-746 Personal Dosimeter

(IM 93/UD)
Range 0-600 Roentgens
Reads Gamma Radiation
L746 Scale

Landsverk O.C.D.M. Item No. CD V-750 Model No. 5A Dosimeter Charger

Landsverk CD V

This is the dosimeter charger that came with the Landsverk kit. I have never seen a Landsverk made dosimeter charger other than with this kit. Actually I don't think this charger was made by Landsverk. I believe this charger was made by Jordan since the internals and externals are identical to a Jordan CD V-750 Model 5A.

Landsverk Kit Manual
Adobe PDF file of the Landsverk Fallout Radiation Measurement Set Manual of Instructions For Use and maintenanace. 2.1Mb File size.

Victoreen Fallout Detection Meter

Victoreen Detection Meter Inside the Victoreen Fallout Detection Meter

This is the Victoreen Fallout detection meter, a commercially sold variant of the CD V-720. The model number of this unit is 61720 which leads me to beleive that this was originally a CD V-720 manufactured in 1961. This meter has a CD V-700 case bottom instead of the CD V-720 bottom with the sliding cover which makes it function as a CD V-715 less the 0.1 scale. This unit was sold by Victoreen for $49.95 in the early 1960s. The black label on the case is affixed over the original cast-in model information label.

The inside of the Fallout Detection Meter (above right photo) reveals the internals of a CD V-720. The ion chamber is the same as a 720 but without the thick aluminum protective plate glued to the bottom.

Victoreen Fallout Detection Meter Manual

Adobe PDF file of the instruction and maintenance manual for the Fallout Detection Meter.vicfallmeter.pdf (541Kb File Size)

Victoreen Fallout Detection Meter Ad from "The Fallout Shelter Handbook" by Chuck West published in 1962.

Victoreen Fallout Detection Meter Ad
Click to see entire advertisement.

Victoreen CD V-727 Citizens Radiological Survey Meter

The Victoreen CD V-727 Citizens Survey meter is very similar to the Victoreen Fallout Detection Meter (VFDM) but it has only one range instead of the three ranges the VFDM has. It appears the CD V-727 was an effort to make a simpler meter for the "average Joe" to use in a nuclear emergency. It's interesting that this meter has a CD V number where the VFDM doesn't. I don't know which came first the CD V-727 or the VFDM. The CD V-727 scale reads from 0-100 r/hr with the first half of the scale being 1-10 and the second half being 10-100. The CD V-727 also uses a CD V-700 case bottom but has a CD V-715 ion chamber. This meter appears to be different from the other CD meters unlike the VFDM which appears just to be a CD V-720 with a CD V-700 bottom. I don't know how many of these were made or if they were widely sold to the public. I have never seen a published advertisement for one. This CD V-727 doesn't have a serial number on the top label.

Thank You! to Rob Stone of Portsmouth Ohio for this meter!


As a supplement to organized Federal, State, and local monitoring systems, instruments for measuring gamma radiation exposure rates (dose rates) and total exposure (dose) can provide valuable on-the-spot information for the citizen following a nuclear explosion. Where, through choice or necessity, one provides a private shelter for the protection of himself and family, knowledge of the radiation sLtuation lrithin the shelter, the home, and, under some circumstances, in surrounding areas, can be used as a basis for determining appropriate courses of action. Instruments designed for measurement of gamma radiation dose rate (rate meters) and lnstruments for measurement of accumulated gamma radiation dose (dosimeters) can be of value for home use.

To meet the needs of an individual or household for measurement of gamma radiatlon followlng a nuclear attack, instruments manufactured for sale to the general public must meet minimum criteria, and it w111 be the responsibility of the manufacturer to assure that his instruments do meet these criteria in all material respects, lf they are to be advertised as being adequate for this purpose. The followlng criteria are essential:

1. Criteria common to both rate meters and dosimeters:

  1. The instrument must be of such design and construction that reliable performance can be expected following a storage period of at least five years (batteries excluded, if used). Use of components subject to significant change in characteristics affecting the performance of the instrument is not acceptable.
  2. The instrument must be easy to operate and interpret.
  3. The energy dependence of the instrument should be less than plus or minus 25 percent for energies between 80 kev and 1.2 mev.
  4. The temperature dependence of the instrument should be less than plus or minus 30 percent between O° F and 110° F.
  5. The instrument, without batteries, should withstand 72-hour storage at a temperature of minus 30°F and 72 hours at plus 150°F. At the conclusion of these exposures and return to room temperature, the lnstrument must meet the over-aL1 accuracy requirements.
  6. The effect of humldity on the over-all accuracy should be less than plus or minus 20 percent. Some of the instruments will be positioned in underground shelters where humidity may be high and, with change of temperature., there could be condensation. Instruments should be designed for operation after prolonged storage under such conditions.
  7. The instrument should satisfactorily withstand atmospheric pressure changes likely to result from shipment by air.
  8. The instrument should meet the accuracy specifications from sea level to the equlvalent pressure of an altltude of 6,000 feet.
  9. The batterles, if used in the instrument or auxlliary equipment, should be standard "D" type flashlight cells.
  10. The instrument should be constructed for moderately rugged use, and for outdoor use during inclement weather.
  11. The instrument, and any auxlliary equipment, should be designed for simple maintenance by commercial radio and television service organizations.
  12. Representations, pictures, seals, insignia, trade or brand names, or any other term or symbol which would imply any government connection, approval, or any other form of government endorsernent, shalL not be used on instruments for the general public. Further, although instruments for ihe general publlc may be any color, it is reconmended that use of civil defense yellow be restricted to official civil defense monitoring instruments.

2: Rate meter criteria (in addition to above):

  1. The instrument must indicate gamma radiation dose rates from 1 to 100 r/hr with an over-aLl accuracy better than plus or minus 35 percent, referenced to cobalt 60, at all dose rates within the prescribed range of the instrument.
  2. The detector must be shielded against beta radiation with a minimum of 1,000 mg/cm2.
  3. The indicator must be calibrated in r/hr and may not be dependent upon the subjective interpretation of varying tones, varying brightness, varying loudness, etc.
  4. The instrument must read off-scale or give some other positive indication when dose rates exceed an indicated 100 r/hr. This must apply for all dose rates between that radiation rate and 1".000 r/hr.
  5. A means must be provided for checklng positive operation of any electronic circuit used.
  6. Tha batteries, if used, must operate the instrument for, a reasonable period of time. (When the instrument is indicating 50 r/hr, or more, the battery must operate the instrument continuously for at least 50 hours.)
  7. The instrunent response shall be such that the difference in the indication for radiation incident normal to the front and that for radiation incident normal to the bottom does not excced 15 Percent over the photon energy range of 80 kev to 1.2 mev.
  8. A dosimeter type instrument, to be exposcd for a timed interval for determining dose rate and reading in roentgens per hour, is permissible provided that the timed interval is greater than five seconds and dose not excaed one minute for an indication of 100 r/hr.
  9. An instrument using and electronic circuit should respond so tha tafter warm up 95 percent of the final indication of all dose rates measured is reached in no more that 10 seconds.
  10. Any circuit instability and meter fluctuation should be less than five percent of full-scale.

3. Dosimeter criteria (in addition to general specifications in 1, "Criteria common to both rate meter and dosimeters"):

  1. The indicator must be calibrated in roentgens and may not be dependent upon subjecive interpretation of varying color or varying transmission or reflection of light, etc.
  2. It must be feasible to read the instrument in the field without destruction of its capability to indicate additional increments of radiation exposure or loss of past exposure indication.
  3. The instrument must indicate the gamma radiation dose, within the prescribed limits of true gamma radiation dose, in the presence of beta radiation fields likely to be present in a fallout radiation field.
  4. The range preferably should be 0-600 r, but not be less than 0-200 r with and over-all accuracy better than plus or minus 25 percent, reference to cobalt 60, at all doses within the prescribed range of the instrument.
  5. If the instrument is electrostatic, self-reading type it must conform to the following criteria:
    1. Be capable of being recharged (reset to 0) with either a built-in or an auxiliary charger.
    2. After standing charged for 48 hours electrical leakage shall not exceed two percent of full-scale in four days.
  6. An instrument or device which is not designed to be reset to zero must meet the following criteria:
    1. Have a range of 0-600r.
    2. After a storage period of five years, the accuracy of radiation dose indication must still be within the limits of the criteria prescribed in 3d above.
  7. The instrument must read off-scale of give other positive indication when the total dose exceeds the range of the instrument.
  8. The physical size, shape, and weight shall be such as to allow field use without serious interference with performance of necessary tasks.
1. Source: Radiological Defense Planning And Operations Guide, DOD OCD, SM-11.23.2 Revised March 1967, Chapter VII Annex 3