Becton Dickinson Company History Timeline

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The incident illustrated a trait that would show itself again and again after September 1897, when Dickinson and his partner Max Becton founded what today is the global medical technology company Becton Dickinson.

The company was founded in 1897 by two salesmen, Maxwell W. Becton and Fairleigh S. Dickinson, as a partnership first to sell medical thermometers and syringes (imported from Europe) and then to manufacture them.

1897: Maxwell W. Becton and Fairleigh S. Dickinson form partnership.

Becton, Dickinson & Co. was founded by Maxwell W. Becton and Fairleigh S. Dickinson in 1897 and is headquartered in Franklin Lakes, NJ.“

BD was founded in 1897 by Maxwell W. Becton and Fairleigh S. Dickinson, two American businessmen who met on a sales trip.


In 1898, BD acquired its first patent for a medical product.


In 1904 the partnership acquired Philadelphia Surgical Company and Wigmore Company, both of which were makers of surgical, dental, and veterinary instruments.


1906: Partnership is incorporated as Becton, Dickinson & Company; factory is built in East Rutherford, New Jersey.


Along these lines, the acquisition of New York-based Surgical Supply Import Company in 1913 was completed to gain the company's network of high-quality foreign suppliers.

1913: Surgical Supply Import Company is acquired.


1918: Company introduces the ACE bandage.


Such was the case with the 1921 purchase of Physicians Specialty Company, which was headed by Andrew W. 'Doc' Fleischer, who like Schwidetzky took a position with Becton, Dickinson following the merger.


In 1924 Becton, Dickinson began making syringes designed specifically for insulin injection, marking the company's first foray into the diabetes care sector.


1925: Fairleigh Dickinson receives a patent for the Luer-Lok tip.


There are pictures of the Becton Dickinson baseball team, the basketball team and even a program a winter dance in January 1934 featuring the “Duke Collins Radio Orchestra.”


Today, luer lock connectors are the standard for syringes in the United States In 1947 Joseph Kleiner developed the Evacutainer — a device used to draw blood by vacuum through a needle into a test tube.


Therefore, in 1948, the sons of the founders, Henry P. Becton and Fairleigh Dickinson, Jr.--both astute businessmen&mdashsumed managerial control of the company.

1948: Henry P. Becton and Fairleigh Dickinson, Jr., sons of the founders, assume managerial control of the company.


Patented in 1949, the Evacutainer used a vacuum system, a needle, and a test tube to draw blood from patients.

Also in 1949 the company's first manufacturing facility located outside New Jersey was established in Columbus, Nebraska.

1949: Entry into diagnostic medicine with the patenting of the Evacutainer blood collection device.


Overall revenues reached $16 million by 1950.

In 1950, BD’s first sterile disposable product, a blood collection set, was developed and sold to the American Red Cross.


The first such move came in 1951 with the acquisition of the company's Canadian distributor to create Becton Dickinson Canada, Ltd., its first wholly owned subsidiary and foreign operation.

1951: International expansion begins with the formation of a Canadian subsidiary.


In 1954, BD introduced the first completely disposable syringe made of glass: BD Hypak.


1955: Baltimore Biological Laboratories is acquired, enlarging the firm's presence in the burgeoning market for disposable medical products.


The Brazilian market was next on the expansion list and Becton, Dickinson began supplying syringes in that country in 1956 and eventually became the number one medical supply company there.


In 1961, the company introduced its disposable BD Plastipak syringe.


The company's need for massive amounts of funding to pay for the conversion from reusable products to sterile disposable products led to a 1962 initial public offering of stock at $25 per share.


In 1963 Becton, Dickinson constructed a disposable syringe plant in Drogheda, Ireland.


By 1966 the company's rapid rate of growth had landed it on the Fortune 500 list for the first time.


In 1973, BD added another United States facility —a research center in Durham, North Carolina in Research Triangle Park.


Wesley J. Howe, who succeeded Dickinson as president and chief executive officer in 1974, was confident that the company's products would be able to meet all the new FDA requirements; to be sure, he hired a team of legal and technical experts to guarantee standardization.

1974: Wesley J. Howe is named president and CEO.


With control of almost 100 percent of the insulin syringe market, Becton, Dickinson saw its sales increase to $456 million in 1975.

In 1975, BD Pharmaceutical Systems Europe acquired an important patent for a prefilled syringe injecting heparin.


Gilmartin had joined Becton, Dickinson in 1976 as vice-president of corporate planning.


On January 16, 1978, before Lipper could be stopped, Becton, Dickinson learned that the Philadelphia-based Sun Oil Company had acquired 34 percent of its stock.

1978: Sun Oil Company acquires a 34 percent stake in the company.


In 1980, BD developed its first automated system for mycobacteria testing — the BD BACTEC 460TB System.


The expansion had been justified to ensure future viability, but by 1983 bad investments had cost the company $75 million--$23 million alone from a failed immunoassay instrument division.


Five years later BD moved its corporate headquarters to Franklin Lakes, New Jersey (current HQ location.) Also in 1986, BD acquired Fabersanitas Industrial, a major Spanish syringe manufacturer as well as Deseret Medical, a vascular access devices manufacturer.


1989: Raymond V. Gilmartin is named CEO.


Becton, Dickinson's investment of 5.6 percent of its 1993 revenues represented a continuing accent on new product introductions.


In mid-1994 Gilmartin left the company to take the top position at pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co., Inc.

1994: Clateo Castellini is named chairman, CEO, and president.


1997: PharMingen Inc. and Difco Laboratories Incorporated are acquired.


In 1998 Becton Dickinson acquired Boin Medica Co., Ltd., the largest medical supply company in South Korea.

Six more acquisitions were completed in 1998, the most significant of which was the purchase of the Medical Devices Division of the BOC Group for about $457 million.

1998: The Medical Devices Division of the BOC Group is acquired.


When it finally opened in 1999, it boasted an annual capacity of more than one billion disposable needles and syringes, making it one of the largest facilities of its kind in Asia.

1999: Company reorganizes its operations into three business segments: BD Medical Systems, BD Biosciences, and BD Preanalytical Solutions; company launches a global brand strategy focusing on the 'BD' name.

In 1999, as BD passed more than 100 years of presence in the medical devices industry, BD announced its new corporate identity.


On December 20, 2000, BD signed an agreement to acquire Gentest Corporation, a privately held company serving the life sciences market in the areas of drug metabolism and toxicology testing of pharmaceutical candidates.


In 2001, it acquired the Gentest Corporation, a leading in drug metabolism and toxicology testing company.


In 2004, BD completed the acquisition of Atto Bioscience Acquired, a company specializing in optical instrumentation, software, and reagents for real-time analysis of interactions taking place in living cells.


In 2005 BD entered the field of proteomics through its acquisition of FFE Weber GmbH, which specialized in the separation and fractionation of complex proteins.


2006 was also an important year to document BD’s growth as the company acquired GeneOhm Sciences — a leader in the development of molecular diagnostic testing for the rapid detection of bacterial organisms and TriPath Imaging -acancer diagnostics company.”

Company Founded
Franklin Lakes, NJ
Company Headquarter
Becton Dickinson,Fairleigh Dickinson,Kyle Bennett,Ranjana Deopa
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