In the global economy, Guilford, Maine, is just a dot on a map. Somewhere north of Boston, south of Quebec City, and 260 miles dead east of Montreal, it’s a place that covers just 36 square miles, with a population of 1,521.
But for the Puritan Medical Products family, Guilford is home.
Midway through our 100th year, it’s important that our customers, partners, and friends understand that we enjoy the greatest resource any company could have – our people.
A History of Hard Work
Guilford was first settled in 1806, and it was officially incorporated in 1816. Like most other towns in interior Maine, Guilford was settled on the banks of a river, which could be harnessed for power to run sawmills, shingle mills, grist mills, or anything else that needed more power than could be supplied by people or animals. In Guilford’s case, that was the Piscataquis River.
In 1919 Lloyd Cartwright launched the Minto Toothpick & Specialty Company in Saginaw, Michigan, and soon thereafter brought it to Guilford, in the heart of the woods of Piscataquis County. In those early days, we manufactured a single product: mint-flavored toothpicks. Cartwright chose Guilford because of its proximity to vast stands of northern white birch, the material we still mill on-site.
Over the years, we became Hardwood Products, LP, the parent company of Hardwood Products Company, and Puritan Medical Products. We’ve evolved into a global manufacturer that produces a wide range of single-use products for multiple industries. These include controlled environments, diagnostics and specimen collection, environmental, forensics and genetics, microbiology media, medical and for researchers in every field.
Collectively, Hardwood and Puritan is the largest employer in Piscataquis County, with more than 550 full-time workers who make and ship our products across the country and around the world.
Fire, Flood, and Resilience
Our town’s history is marked by fire and flood – and our people’s resilience. Photos and detailed accounts tell the story on the Guilford Historical Society pages. You can also read about the Fire of 1958, and the crucial role residents played in our recovery.
Over the years, generations of Guilford residents worked the many textile mills that have come and gone, including Guilford Woolen Mills, Interface Fabrics, and M.L. Hussey Woolen Company Mill.
Today, their children and grandchildren give their best to manufacturers in town such as Tru Textiles, and, of course, to both Puritan Medical Products and Hardwood Products.
While a lot has changed over the past century, our core values have stayed the same. We are still family owned and today third- and fourth -generation members of the founding family work alongside their Guilford area neighbors – some whose families have answered the whistle of this old mill for generations.
Our customers include your family doctor, your public health lab, and your local police department. We manufacture over 1,200 unique items, many of them swabs. In fact, we manufacture 65 different types of swabs producing over 12 million each day. That means we produce 5 billion swabs each year! And our volume is still growing.
The Secret Behind our Success
People are the driving force behind our ability to maintain a thriving organization for more than a century. We have a diverse workforce of local, hardworking individuals on our team. There’s a shared dedication to quality and unwavering commitment to do what it takes to meet the needs of our customers.
When it comes to describing the spirit of our people, a writer for the Guilford Historical Society website said it best:
“... Guilford will survive. We were born of the river, empowered and made wealthy by her awesome strength, robbed and rewarded by her capriciousness, and inspired by her tireless, unceasing example. As in each moment, when new water passes a given spot, as banks and bends imperceptibly erode and relocate, as ice forms, melts, and moves on by, so too will the fortune and history of Guilford be wrought with change. The pattern has been one of ups and downs, but we have proven over and over again, when times get hard, we get strong.”
What better place than that to call home?