Dr. Homer Stryker, an orthopaedic surgeon, established The Orthopedic Frame company 80 years ago, and the company eventually became Stryker, a global leader in medical technology. Dr. Stryker dedicated his life to serving patients, and his inspirational words, “If your tools don’t work, make them work,” continue to inspire and push us forward on behalf of the physicians and healthcare providers we serve. Our extensive portfolio of products and services help healthcare professionals specializing in Orthopaedics, MedSurg, Neurotechnology and Spine improve and save lives. We have a strong global presence and have grown to over 40,000 employees worldwide.
The company’s 80th anniversary is a time of reflection and appreciation for what came before. As we explore the humble beginnings of Stryker, we find the thread that sutures together past and present: A surgeon, an inventor, a man driven to make healthcare better.
When local community members recently found a set of vintage crutches, etched with the name “Dr. Stryker,” it was clear that they were a product of our founder’s innovative spirit and “almost legendary”1 service to his community.
The crutches, discovered at a garage sale, are likely examples of his pioneering surgical work in leg-length discrepancies.1 Dr. Stryker, who first arrived in Kalamazoo, Michigan as a general practitioner, was appointed to serve as the physician for Kalamazoo County, treating community members in need and later becoming an orthopaedic surgeon.
Building on his desire to meet the needs of surgeons by developing technology to advance healthcare, it was at this time that Dr. Stryker began the journey that established Stryker as a leading medical technology company. With early inventions such as the turning frame, walking heel and later, the oscillating saw.
Today, though our portfolio of products and services has grown, our culture still reflects our founder's legacy and is underpinned by our mission and values. Of the process of building our mission and values, Chair and CEO, Kevin Lobo, says, “We knew we got it right based on the reaction of employees across the company as well as past leaders like our Chairman Emeritus, John Brown, who universally said, ‘this feels like us.’”
1. Breneman, JC, Hager D. The Stryker Story - Homer’s Iliad, 1992.
SYK CORP 2021-02-03