The tradition of innovation at Abbott Laboratories can be traced back to 1888, when its
founder, Dr. Wallace C. Abbott, pioneered the use of tiny granules to accurately dispense
Over the next ten years, the evangelical efforts of a small but dedicated sales team
paved the way to the formation of a diversified global healthcare organization, with a 700
product catalog and
offices in Canada, England, India and major cities in the United States.
In 1915, the Abbott Alkaloidal Company changed its name to Abbott Laboratories in a
nod to its increasing focus on the research and development of synthetic compounds.
these products, Chlorazene, was a widely used antiseptic on the battlefields of World War I.
By the time that Dr. Alfred Stephen Burdick took the helm as CEO in 1921, Abbott
Laboratories was operating a major manufacturing facility in Chicago, Illinois and mass
producing multiple lines of pharmaceutical products.
The company went public in 1929 with an
initial public offering of 20,000 at $32 per share.
Throughout the subsequent ups and downs of
global financial markets, Abbott has consistently paid dividends to its shareholders.
The 1930’s ushered in an era of diversification for Abbott, beginning with the company’s
first nutritional offerings and the announcement of the first international affiliate organization in
A new, modernized research facility was opened in Chicago in 1938, leading
the way for a US government contract to produce penicillin in 1941.
A continuous roll out of
innovative new treatments contributed to the company’s favorable reputation and rising share
By 1965, Abbott’s exponential growth made it necessary to create an all-encompassing
campus to house corporate headquarters, primary manufacturing and research facilities.
operations were relocated to a 420 acre site named Abbott Park, southwest of the company’s
original Chicago headquarters. The company’s managed growth enabled continuous
diversification, such as their foray into immunodiagnostics in 1972 and the formation of the
Abbott Diagnostic Division, a move that was calculated to increase the company’s leadership
position as a cost-effective healthcare provider.
“Abbott had experimented with hospital nutritional products, designed to help patients
quickly regain their strength after surgery, and diagnostic devices . . . Abbott eventually became
the number one company in both of these arenas, which moved it far down the path of becoming