2012 sees Owen Mumford, one of the UK’s largest manufacturers of specialist medical devices, celebrate its 60th anniversary. The company’s founders Ivan Owen, John Mumford and Ivan’s father Thomas Owen set up business in 1952 from a lock-up garage in Oxford.
They began by improving existing medical products such as the Macintosh laryngoscope. Professor Macintosh of the Radcliffe Infirmary, Oxford, himself proposed changes to make the device easier to use. So impressed was he with Owen Mumford’s modifications to the laryngoscope that he commissioned the company to redesign the Oxford inflating bellows. Later Owen Mumford produced a new version of the Radcliffe humidifier.
By the 1960s it became clear that plastics were the future for Owen Mumford. Robert Moss, a local plastics company, was struggling to meet orders and asked Owen Mumford to make aluminum moulds for its plastic injection moulding plant. The company also took on contract moulding for the automotive industry but as work increased more manufacturing space was needed. In the early 1970s a new factory for Owen Mumford’s plastics division was built in Woodstock.
The choice of plastics available for medical applications increased over time. More use was made of engineering polymers due to their valuable properties in the manufacture of components where more precision was needed, rather than traditional materials such as polypropylene. Having worked closely with the automotive industry (who were pioneers in moving from metal to plastic), Owen Mumford was well placed for such changes and adapted readily.
By the late 1970s Owen Mumford had become innovators, designing original medical devices using the latest moulding processes. In 1978, the company launched Autolet, the world’s first automatic lancing device which revolutionised blood glucose monitoring worldwide. Today Owen Mumford aims to retain the lead the way with groundbreaking medical devices using state-of-the-art tooling and processes.