History and Timeline of Puritan Medical Products

Our History

A Century of Improving Life in Ways Large and Small

The world and the industries we serve have changed in ways people from 1919 could never have imagined. Here’s a look at some of the bigger moments down through the years.

1919

Open for Business

Lloyd Cartwright establishes the Minto Toothpick Company in Saginaw, Michigan, where he creates and sells mint-flavored toothpicks.

1920 – Ice Cream on a Stick

The Good Humor ice cream company says that confectioner Harry Burt invents ice cream on a stick, and Good Humor is granted a patent in 1923.

1920s

Product Diversification

Puritan starts developing a range of products, such as ice cream sticks and spoons, candy sticks, steak markers, cocktail forks, tongue blades and manicure sticks. Products were sold under the brand names GoldBond and Trophy, which are the same brands used today by our sister company Hardwood Product Co., LLC.

1923 - Cotton Swab Invented

After watching his wife affix wadded cotton to the tip of a toothpick, Leo Gerstenzang creates a solution to cleaning hard-to-reach spots (like the ear).

1928

On to Medical Woodenware

Puritan enters the medical woodenware market with the introduction of tongue depressors and aseptic wood applicators.

1938 – Flu Vaccine Invented

Jonas Salk and Thomas Francis develop the first flu vaccine. The vaccine, along with the use of cotton swabs for specimen collection, helps protect US forces against the flu during World War II.

1948

Puritan Brand Trademarked

The well-known Puritan® brand is trademarked, and all Puritan medical products bear the name and logo.

1950

New Address, New Name

With business booming, Cartwright moves to Guilford, Maine, to be closer to a supply of white birch. There, operations resume as Hardwood Products Company.

1960

Disaster and Recovery

After fire in 1958 destroys the plant and warehouse, dedicated owners and employees immediately start building a new facility that opens in 1960. Most of the specialized machinery was built by company personnel on site as it was not available for purchase on the open market.

1965

Move Toward Specialization

Puritan decides to become more heavily involved in the production of medical and healthcare products. The decision is made to enter the cotton tipping and sterile pack market laying the groundwork for a future in the development of swabs and specimen collection devices.

1978

FDA Approval Secured

Puritan registers as a medical device manufacturer with the federal Food and Drug Administration.

1982

Adapting to Market Demands

Puritan brings fiber carding equipment online to more efficiently prepare cotton, rayon and polyester fibers to better address the needs of the healthcare industry.

1984 – Reaching for the Stars

President Ronald Reagan calls on NASA to build an international space station within 10 years. Puritan supplies the project with samples for various uses.

1988

A Tip of the Hat

The pilgrim hat is added to the Puritan logo to reflect and embody the dedication, honor and determination of the Puritan pilgrims.

1990

On to Industrial Market

Puritan rolls out new technology, producing foam-tipped applicators for industrial uses, as well as for medical and specimen collection applications.

1995

International Certification Achieved

The global International Standard Organization (ISO) certifies Puritan’s production facilities. CE marking, signifying approval under European Union standards, follows in 1998.

2000 – Forensics in our Homes

CSI premieres on CBS, launching the use of forensic science – and cotton swabs! – into the popular TV police drama genre and America’s cultural consciousness.

2001

Second Product Patented

Puritan releases its second patented product, the DM™ Wound Measuring device. It joins the Popule®, a sterile foam swab for use in the field for collection of trace DNA.

2002

From One Company to Two

Hardwood Products Company reorganizes as two affiliated limited liability companies, Hardwood Products Company and Puritan Medical Products. Production remains in Guilford and under founding family ownership.

2005

Evidence of Ingenuity

Puritan introduces Cap-Shure® DNA specimen collection device to the world of forensics.

2006

Line Expansion

Puritan’s PurSwab line expands, adding a new array of specialty swabs for lint-sensitive applications.

2009

Innovation Continues

DNA collection devices are now offered “free” of human DNA contamination.

2009 – WHO Calls, Puritan Answers

The World Health Organization applies its highest alert level to the worldwide swine flu pandemic, Puritan goes all-out to boost production of specimen collection devices. That same year, home ancestry DNA kits enter the marketplace.

2011

Game-changing Products

Puritan debuts its patented line of high-performance flocked swabs. PurFlock Ultra ® and HydraFlock ® swabs offer superior collection and rapid release properties. EnviroMax ®, EnviroMax Plus ®, and ESK ® Sampling Kit products address the environmental sampling needs of the food and drug industries.

2012

Innovation in Transport Mediums

UniTranz-RT® and Opti-Swab® — Puritan’s superior media for viral and bacterial transport, coupled with Puritan’s well-established specimen collection swabs, are launched.

2017

Award-winning Technology

Puritan unveils its transport media system while also receiving an Innovation & Technology Award from the Institute for Maine Family-Owned Businesses.

2018 – Worst Flu Season in Nearly a Decade

Puritan supplies diagnostic products to combat the worst flu season in nearly a decade.

2019

Celebrating 100 Years

Puritan kicks off a festive 100th year of service by unveiling its 100-year anniversary logo and announcing a yearlong celebration campaign.

Present & Future

Puritan will always be in the forefront, meeting the needs of emerging technologies. Our continuing R&D and facility expansion allows our continued leadership in single-use products for patient care, diagnostics, controlled environments, environmental sampling and forensic and genetics markets.



Have a Question?

Contact us to speak with one of our knowledgeable and friendly product specialists.

Contact Us

Get Top Insights
as Soon as They're Published

Stay informed about industry news, current events, and the
unique properties of Puritan's wide range of products that set us
apart from the rest.

Copyright © Puritan Medical Products. All rights reserved.Proudly Made in the USA