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Our History

Our History

A Century of Growth and Innovation

Our History

Overview

Medline’s history dates back more than a century, to a time when many surgeons still wore their own clothes during surgery and gloves had not yet been introduced to help prevent infection. Our roots date back to 1910, when A.L. Mills moved from Arkansas to Chicago and started Northwestern Garment Factory.

 

Today, Medline is the nation’s largest privately held and one of the fastest growing distributors of medical and surgical supplies in the United States, serving hospitals, nursing homes, surgery centers, physician offices, home care dealers, home health agencies, retail outlets and other health care markets. With this rapid growth, we have strengthened our focus on innovation. We now have more than 160 patents globally.

1910-1924

1910-1924
  • 1910: A.L. Mills starts Northwestern Garment Factory, manufacturing aprons for Chicago's Stockyards.
  • 1912: Mills Hospital Supplies incorporated: begins manufacturing surgical gowns and uniforms.
  • 1924: A.L. Mills’ son Irving starts managing the family business at age 18.

1940s

1940s
  • Mills Hospital Supply manufactures first colored surgical gown. The first colors being misty and jade green.

1966

1966
  • Medline is founded by Irving’s sons Jim and Jon Mills with approximately 2,000 sq. feet of warehouse space and one loading dock.

1970s and 1980s

1970s and 1980s
  • Medline launches ACCESS Consignment, the industry’s first inventory management consignment program.
  • Medline releases textile catalogue doubling sales.
  • Medline launches HealthCare sales force to serve nursing homes.

1990s

1990s
  • Medline opens first surgical procedure tray facility in Waukegan, IL.
  • Andy Mills, Charlie Mills and Jim Abrams assume management positions at Medline, becoming the 4th generation of the Mills family to lead Medline.
  • Medline introduces Aloetouch® gloves, the health care industry’s first exam gloves with aloe.

2000

2000
  • Medline surpasses $1 billion in sales.

2005-2009

2005-2009
  • Medline becomes the nation’s largest medical supplier to nursing homes.
  • Medline launches Medline University, a free online educational resource for clinicians and nursing staff.
  • Medline introduces pink exam gloves and produces Pink Glove Dance video in support of breast cancer awareness and prevention, receiving more than 13.5 million views on YouTube.

2012

2012

2013

2013
  • Medline receives 2013 Annual Award for Business Excellence.
  • Medline's PerforMAX™ Power Scrub line receives excellence in surgical products award.
  • Medline rang the closing bell at the NASDAQ Stock Market in New York City in celebration of winning the Chicago Innovation Award for our new BioMask™, the first-ever FDA-cleared antiviral medical face mask that is shown to inactivate flu viruses.

2014

2014
  • Medline acquires Professional Hospital Supply, a leading manufacturer of custom procedure trays.
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