Fernand Porgès in 1898
Excerpts from the 1905 Porgès catalogue
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see the site of Porges Laboratories France, click
The early manufacturing process
(click on any picture to see a full size view)
Dévidage de la soie
Atelier de tissage
Fabrication de la gomme
Imperméabilisation des bandages
Atelier de gommage
Finissage des sondes et canules en caoutchouc
Fabrication de la feuille en caoutchouc à moulage
Atelier de confection
Atelier de ponçage
Atelier de polissage
Soufflage du verre
Laboratories were created in Sarlat
by Fernand Porgès on December 10, 1893.
The company specialized
in the manufacturing of catheters and medical devices for
urology and general surgery.
The labor intensive
process consisted in weaving sheaths of silk fibers that were
dipped in natural gum then hand finished ('eyes' punching,
polishing and marking with silver and gold films).
The company grew rapidly,
due to steady export sales to eastern Europe.
Fernand's younger brother, emigrated from Vienna to France
and joined the company at the turn of the century. He later
became a partner, and acquired the French citizenship in 1905.
René and Lucien (sons of Fernand), Richard and Raoul
(sons of Jules) succeeded their fathers and developed the
The company had its main offices in
Paris (Bd Magenta) and two manufacturing facilities, one in
Sarlat (a small city in the South West of France) and one
at Les Lilas (a Paris suburb). During World War II, the company
was confiscated and fictitiously taken over by two friendly
families from Lyons and Périgord, who managed the company
and turned it back to the Porgès family at the end
of the war.
After the war, René,
Lucien, Raoul and Richard Porgès established their
headquarters in Paris (Quai Anatole France) and restarted
the business from scratch.
They introduced polymers (PVC),
then a revolutionary innovation, in the manufacturing of catheters
in replacement of woven silk.
The company became rapidly a
world leader in its field.
In the 1950's, the processing of
latex was introduced for the manufacturing of balloon "Foley"
catheters, which became the company's main production.
In the late 1960's, the sons
of Lucien and René succeeded their fathers
to run the company.
In 1974, a U.S. subsidiary,
Porges Catheter Corporation, was created in New York City
(54 W 54th St).
In 1979, the Porgès
family sold the company to Synthelabo, the pharmaceutical
subsidiary of L'Oreal.
It then employed 600 people and shared the world market of
medical catheters with C.R. Bard (U.S.A.) and Rusch (Germany).
In February 2001, Sanofi
Synthélabo sold the company to Mentor Corporation.
In 2006, Porgès
was sold by Mentor to Coloplast
of Porgès by Mentor :
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