Hamilton History

Success stories such as those of Hamilton are often the result of ideas that had their birth in garages.

The history of the Hamilton companies began in the late 1940’s.  Clark Hamilton, a chemical engineer, who had studied at MIT, developed a lead shielded syringe for precision handling of radioactive isotopes in collaboration with the Lawrence Livermore Radiation facility near Berkeley California.  Upon relocation to Whittier California and his garage there, Clark Hamilton’s activities quickly focused on the need for microliter liquid handling in the field of Chromatography.  By his effort, Hamilton became the world leader in sample handling for the field of Chromatography and in 1960 the fledgling company outgrew the family garage, proudly moving into its first of many rental facilities.  These precision syringes would provide the sample introduction to a Chromatograph where precision, accuracy, and reproducibility were key in the separation science of chemistries.   They remain today the standard for use in Chromatography and, not so surprisingly, continue to sell for the same price as they did in the early 1950’s.

In 1968, Clark Hamilton founded an identical company in Bonaduz, Switzerland to enable production of these syringes for the European scientific community.  Today Hamilton Bonaduz AG continues to manufacture, design, and create new products in concert with Hamilton Company in the US.  In 1970, the company in Whittier California was relocated to Reno, Nevada where it remains today.  The two companies work in collaboration today with competence centres, driving innovation in a wide array of products.  Starting in 1974, the management was turned over to Steve Hamilton and, with the support of his brothers, continues to run the companies to this day.  The business, however, has grown not only exponentially in sales but has also expanded into automated liquid handling of chemistries that has benefited the world by enabling the first automated screening of whole blood for AIDS and Hepatitis, as well as an unlimited array of other solutions that continue to need automation on a microliter level.

Andreas Wieland, Steve Hamilton and Theo Haas (Bürgergemeinde Domat/Ems) during commissioning of the Ems site. (from left to right)

Today the company employs over 2500 personnel and is growing.  On a global level, Hamilton is the largest automated liquid handling company in the world.  Along the way, many new innovations have emerged in the areas of sensor and measuring technology, as well as the founding of a medical company.  Hamilton Medical AG as a separate business, produces world-class critical care ventilators with cutting edge technology, enabling patient respiratory monitoring for real time ventilator adjustments, providing a superior level of patient care.  Hamilton Medical AG, and its subsidiary Hamilton Medical Inc., now are number one in the critical care field of ventilation. Hamilton Storage Technologies Inc. was also founded, providing biological and compound sample management via storage solutions that work in the minus 80 and minus 20, as well as ambient environments.  Sample storage products, along with Hamilton robotic equipment, provide a much-needed solution to the scientific community where samples need to be preserved for the future.

All of the global businesses remain today as a privately held effort, creating products that continue to innovate and enhance the scientific community in many fields.  Our success has been to provide our customers with cutting edge technologies that simplify and enable complicated solutions, to provide strong customer care with products displaying not only innovation but quality, precision and reliability to be regarded as trusted solutions, and limited only by the imagination of our customers, as we go forward into the future.  We may have come a long way but all of us at Hamilton feel that our future is just beginning, and we look to the future with excitement…