Our History

Today, we are the world's largest medical technology company, but we come from humble beginnings. Medtronic was founded in 1949 as a medical equipment repair shop by Earl Bakken and his brother-in-law, Palmer Hermundslie.

Did these two men set out to change medical technology and the lives of millions of people? No. But they did have a deep moral purpose and an inner drive to use their scientific knowledge and entrepreneurial skills to help others.

That spirit – combined with our founders' personal integrity and passion – became our guiding philosophy and, ultimately, the Medtronic Mission.

Our first life-changing therapy – a wearable, battery-powered cardiac pacemaker – was the foundation for many more Medtronic therapies that use our electrical stimulation expertise to improve the lives of millions of people.

Over the years, we developed additional core technologies, including implantable mechanical devices, drug and biologic delivery devices, and powered and advanced energy surgical instruments. Today, our technologies are used to treat nearly 40 medical conditions.

Our History Brochure
Our HistoryView PDF

Read about our early years, the motivation behind our Mission, and much more in a brochure chronicling Medtronic’s rich history.