The roots of the Kendall Company can be traced back to 1903, when Henry P. Kendall bought the Lewis Batting Company in Walpole, Massachusetts. The Lewis Batting mill produced cotton batts, carpet linings and absorbent cotton. Mr. Kendall later transformed production to focus on health and hygienic products, which would later become catalysts for his company's future growth.
As business burgeoned, Henry Kendall recognized the wisdom of manufacturing his own cloth instead of buying it from an outside source; he purchased a cotton mill in Camden, South Carolina in 1916, helping his company to become one of the first American companies to integrate its operations from spinning, weaving and finishing the broadwoven fabrics used in dressings.
World War I was a catalyst for growth for the company; the battlefield created a tremendous need for surgical dressings made from the company's absorbent cotton gauze. When the end of the war saw a fall-off in demand for dressings, Kendall was prompted to diversify. Soon the company was producing hospital dressings, cheesecloth, sanitary napkin gauze and other coarse-mesh products, and acquiring additional spinning and weaving plants to keep up with demand. Many of these products were marketed under the now legendary CURITY trademark.
The advent of World War II brought a renewed demand for surgical dressings and first aid products. During this same time period, the company acquired a manufacturer of elastic stockings, and introduced its first nonwoven fabrics and industrial tapes.
In 1972, Kendall became a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Colgate-Palmolive Company, and during its 16-year association with the consumer products giant continued to grow both domestically and internationally. In late 1988, a new company formed by management and outside vendors purchased Kendall. Kendall was ultimately acquired by Tyco International, Ltd. in October of 1994, becoming part of their Disposable & Specialty Division.