About the Company

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Founder Milford Barron and Wife Mary

 
   

Company History

Barron Precision Instruments, L.L.C. was founded in 1997, and is the offspring of Precision Instruments, Inc., a company founded by Milford Barron in 1948. Following is a bit of history about that original company.

Milford Barron was born in 1913 in Anderson, Indiana.  After graduating from high school in 1932, he entered General Motors Institute (now Kettering University), majoring in Industrial Engineering.  GMI offered a cooperative program, and Milford did his co-op work at Delco Remy Division of General Motors. He married Mary Brown in 1935,  spent 43 years with GM, and retired in 1974 when he was Executive in charge of Production Control, Procurement, and Logistics for the Corporation. 

During the mid-1940's Milford was approached by an old high school friend, Harry Brown, who was a doctor in Indianapolis, Indiana.  Harry presented the problem that surgeons performing skin grafts faced at the time - the lack of a precise way to remove donor skin tissue so that the grafted skin would be uniform in width and thickness.  Milford invented the Brown Electrodermatome in 1947, and named it in honor of his friend, Harry, who died in an automobile accident soon after the instrument was conceived.  For almost half a century the Brown Electrodematome was a standard instrument used by general surgeons needing to perform skin grafts.  The patents rights for the Electrodermatome instrument were sold to Zimmer Manufacturing Company in 1948, and Milford founded Precision Instruments, Inc. to manufacture the disposable blades that were needed for each graft operation. Over 6 million blades were produced between 1948 and 2000 when manufacture was discontinued.

Milford suffered a heart attack in 1973, and had bypass surgery performed by Dr. Walter Janke.  Dr. Janke and Milford collaborated in developing several devices for use with open heart surgery, one being the Janke-Barron Heart Support which is used to support the heart during procedures on the posterior side of the heart. That device is now sold by Edwards Lifesciences Corporation.

After retiring from General Motors in 1974, Milford met Dr. Philip C. Hessburg, an ophthalmologist in Detroit, Michigan.  Together they collaborated on the development of the Hessburg-Barron Vacuum Cornea Trephine, which was introduced to the market in the late 1970's.  That product has evolved during the subsequent years, and new products such as the Donor Cornea Punch and Radial Vacuum Trephine were developed by Milford. He was active in the business until his death in March, 2001, his last invention being a disposable microkeratome that was patented in 1999. Milford's wife Mary, who made Milford's commitment to the business possible, died in June, 2005.