Our History

DePuy Synthes has a rich history - consisting of innovation, working with industry leaders, and making a difference in the lives of many patients around the world.

And it all began with a splint.

depuy synthes factory

Back in 1895, a 35-year-old chemist and pharmaceutical salesman named Revra DePuy came up with the idea of starting a business to manufacture fiber splints that could be customized to fit patients and would be an advance over the wooden splints that were commonly used in the late nineteenth century.

DePuy opened his business, which he named DePuy Manufacturing Company, in a hotel room in downtown Warsaw, a city in northern Indiana that is home to several natural lakes and which DePuy had grown fond of during his work-related travels.

Even before Revra DePuy made his first sale, he made history. His business became the first orthopaedic manufacturing business in the world, and his decision to set up shop in Warsaw was the catalyst for Warsaw becoming the “Orthopaedic Capital of the World.®

Over the next quarter century, until his death in 1921, Revra DePuy continued to make splints and grow his business. He replaced his fiber splints with wire cloth splints. He added more than a dozen employees to the payroll. He also complemented his mail-order business with a small team of salesmen, one of whom was Justin Zimmer, who later started his own splint manufacturing company in Warsaw.

In the decades following Revra DePuy’s death, the orthopaedics industry changed dramatically. New scientific advances led to the development of artificial joints, as well as techniques for correcting spinal deformities, repairing broken bones with internal fixation devices and many other innovations. DePuy Manufacturing not only adapted to the changing orthopaedic industry, it helped shape it. Through a series of leaders, owners, acquisitions, collaborations and joint ventures, DePuy Manufacturing transformed from a company that made splints to a leader in developing and manufacturing implants and instruments to treat a wide range of diseases and disorders of the musculoskeletal and neurological systems.

Along the way, there were many company “firsts.” DePuy introduced the first mobile bearing knee system in the United States, the LCS® Knee System. It pioneered POROCOAT® Porous Coating, which is composed of sintered alloy beads that allow biological fixation to bone without the use of bone cement. During the 1980’s, DePuy’s AML® Hip System became the first cementless porous-coated implant indicated for biological fixation in the world.

Innovation and growth were further fueled by several mergers and acquisitions. In 1990, DePuy’s parent company at the time acquired Chas. F. Thackray Limited (Leeds, United Kingdom). Thackray played a key role in the development of cemented fixation through its work with Sir John Charnley, the “father” of total hip replacement. DePuy’s work in biologic fixation and Thackray’s contributions to cemented fixation continue to shape new innovations to this day. Interestingly, not only did DePuy go on to manufacture and market the CHARNLEY Hip for many years , it also had marketing rights for some time to the Müller® Hip, named after Swiss orthopaedic surgeon Maurice E. Müller, whose cemented straight stem has remained virtually unchanged since its inception decades ago.

In 1998, Johnson & Johnson, one of the world’s largest healthcare companies, acquired DePuy, by then known as DePuy, Inc. Later, in 2012, Johnson & Johnson acquired global medical device company Synthes, Inc., and combined that company with the DePuy franchise to create one of the world’s largest orthopaedic and neurological businesses.

 

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