Orthopedic specialists around the world treating musculoskeletal injuries and deformities use reconstructive devices, supports, and implants manufactured by three companies based in Warsaw, Indiana. Recognized as the orthopedic capital of the world, the north-central Indiana city of 12,000 was also the industry’s birthplace.
Traveling pharmaceutical salesman Revra DePuy’s fiber-and-wire-mesh splint replaced the hard planks most often used to reset broken bones in the late nineteenth century. His innovation launched DePuy Manufacturing, founded in Warsaw in 1895. The world’s first commercial fabricator of orthopedic devices spawned a local competitor in 1927, when former DePuy splint salesman Justin Zimmer set up shop. His innovative aluminum splint helped Zimmer Manufacturing Company’s sales nose ahead of DePuy’s within a year.
Zimmer became a Bristol-Meyers’ subsidiary in the 1970s, but has since reverted back to independent ownership. DePuy has changed hands numerous times since its founding, most recently having been acquired by Johnson and Johnson. The longtime rivals continue to dominate international market share. A third Warsaw orthopedics manufacturer, Biomet Inc. has operated there since 1977.