Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Smiths Medical

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Part of Smiths Group. Based in Minnesota, USA


1957 Smiths Industries acquired Portland Plastics because of Portland’s expertise in plastic and nylon tubing to support their aerospace and automotive activities.

1967 Name changed to Portex.

1970s The Company gained three Queen’s Awards for Export and another Queen’s Award for Technical Achievement, primarily for the design, development and manufacture of the Profile cuff, used on endotracheal and tracheostomy tubes.

1979 Acquired Concorde Laboratories, manufacturers of blood sampling products.

1984 Acquired Downs Surgical, manufactures of surgical instruments and ostomy products. Awarded another Queen’s Award for Export.

1985 Acquired Eschmann Bros & Walsh Ltd, a company which manufactured operating tables, electro surgical units and also had a range of ostomy products. The Simcare brand is formed from the ostomy products from Downs Surgical and Eschmann Bros & Walsh.

1988 Acquired Avon Medicals, manufacturers of dialysis and blood transfusion products. Disposed of Downs Surgical.

1989 Acquired Peter von Berg (PVB), a German company which made a range of pressure transducers, stop cocks and cardiac catheters. Also acquired Respiratory Support Products Inc., maker of a range of temperature probes used in critical care area. The Company also earned its fifth Queen’s Award for Export.

1992 Acquisition of two companies: H.G. Wallace Ltd (51%), manufacturers of disposable products for hospitals and a range of invitro-fertilisation products, and Intertech, who also made disposable products including respiratory lines and anaesthetic masks.

1993 Acquired the remaining 49% of H.G. Wallace.

1994 Another Queen’s Award for Export this year and two notable acquisitions: Deltec, a US based manufacturer of medication delivery pumps and vascular access devices, and Kylie Kanga, manufacturers of disposable blankets and pads.

1995 Acquired Level 1, a US based company manufacturing temperature management equipment and disposables.

1997 Acquired Graseby Medical. They made a range of hospital medication delivery pumps and apnoeapediatric monitors. Acquired Pneupac® manufacturers of emergency and transport ventilators and anaesthesia machines.

1998 Acquired BCI® for their leading edge technology to monitor respiration, oxygen saturation, expired carbon dioxide, temperature, blood pressure and inspired oxygen and ECG.

2001 Acquired Bivona, manufacturers of a range of anaesthesia silicon products to complement Portex® portfolio.

2002 Disposed of the Simcare range of urology products to Mentor Medical Ltd.

2003 Medical was one of 3 divisions of Smiths Group[1]

2004 Name of Portex was changed to Smiths Medical International; acquired Pneupac and Graseby Medical from Smiths Group[2]

2004 Acquired DHD Healthcare. DHD’s products are widely used to care for the respiratory needs of patients in a variety of therapeutic and critical care applications.

2005 Acquisition of Medex Inc. Medex manufactures and markets critical care medical products for use in a variety of diagnostic and therapeutic procedures.

2020 Supplier of infusion systems to deliver medication for treating chronic conditions; vascular access products which protect healthcare workers and patients from both needle injury and hospital-acquired infection; other products help manage patients' airways before, during and after surgery.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Times 25 Sept 2003
  2. 2004 Annual report
  • [1] Smiths Medical
  • [2] History