Kendall Healthcare (now part of Covidien) Kendall Healthcare was founded more than 100 years ago in a small textile mill in Walpole, Massachusetts, and became one of the world’s largest manufacturers of disposable medical supplies and related products.
The firm, which was eventually to become The Kendall Company, and ultimately Covidien began in 1903, when Henry P. Kendall bought the Lewis Batting Company in Walpole, Massachusetts. At the time of its purchase, the mill provided a livelihood for about 80 people who produced cotton batts, carpet linings and absorbent cotton. Mr. Kendall had a penchant for improving products and the processes used to make them, and that led to the development of the health and hygienic products which would later become catalysts for his company’s future growth. As business burgeoned, Henry Kendall recognized the wisdom of manufacturing his own cloth instead of buying it from an outside source. He purchased a cotton mill in Camden, South Carolina in 1916, helping his company to become one of the first American companies to integrate its operations from spinning, weaving and finishing the broad-woven fabrics used in dressings.
World War I, although a time of adversity for many, was a catalyst for growth at Henry Kendall’s young company; the realities of the battlefield created a tremendous need for surgical dressings made from the company’s absorbent cotton gauze. When the end of the war saw a fall-off in demand for dressings, Kendall was prompted to diversity. Soon the company was producing hospital dressings, cheesecloth, sanitary napkin gauze and other coarse-mesh products, and acquiring additional spinning and weaving plants to keep up with demand. Many of these products were marketed under the now legendary Curity™ trademark.
Kendall expanded beyond U.S. borders for the first time in 1926, opening a subsidiary in Toronto, Canada. The company grew through acquisitions in the ‘20’s and ‘30’s, and the advent of World War II brought a renewed demand for surgical dressings and first aid products. During this same time period, the company acquired a manufacturer of elastic stockings, and introduced its first non-woven fabrics and industrial tapes.
The ‘50’s and ’60’s brought further significant change. When the Korean War ended, the demand for surgical dressings decreased, but the slack was quickly taken up by increasing sales of textiles, and health and hygienic products.
In 1972, Kendall became a wholly owned subsidiary of The Colgate- Palmolive Company, and during its 16-year association with the consumer products giant continued to grow both domestically and internationally. In late 1988, a new company formed by management and outside vendors purchased Kendall, and in 1992, issued publicly traded shares listed on the NASDAQ Stock Market and later traded on the NYSE. With its strong history of quality, cost effective products, Kendall was ultimately acquired by Tyco International, Ltd. in October of 1994, be-coming part of this multi-billion dollar, diversified giant. Tyco went on to acquire other key franchises in the medical field. Sheridan Catheters, Professional Medical Products, Confab, InBrand and in 1998 both Sherwood Davis & Geck and United States Surgical Corporation became part of the Tyco family of companies. These businesses, together with Kendall formed the basis for the new Covidien.
Controlling the incidence of healthcare-associated infections (HAI) has long been a challenge, and when they do occur, treatment is inevitably costly, both financially and in terms of patient outcomes. Once infection takes hold or a needlestick injury happens, it’s already too late to avoid the the costs and health risks associated with treatment, so prevention is your best solution.