When the world's first hand-held, direct-illuminating ophthalmoscope developed by Dr. Francis Welch and William Noah Allyn was sold in 1915, the world caught a glimpse of what a little imagination and a lot of determination could achieve.
With little formal education, but a mind for invention and an entrepreneurial spirit, William Noah Allyn first marketed that ophthalmoscope at an American Medical Association convention in New York City in 1920. With no money for a booth but a wealth of determination, Allyn placed himself and the product he had developed with Dr. Francis Welch in a most strategic location—just outside the men's room. His strategy worked, and today, Welch Allyn continues to use unique strategies and state-of-the-art innovation to introduce new products and solutions to the marketplace.
Despite the popularity of its first product, the company struggled to match its innovation with the business acumen it sorely needed to make a name for itself. That expertise came from William G. Allyn, son of William Noah Allyn. Highly-educated and trained as an optometrist, W.G., as he was known, brought a quiet confidence to the company, which would put it on a path to success for years to come. Having acquired the necessary sales and strategic planning resources, W.G. led the company through five decades of technical advances, sales growth and industry recognition, while establishing a firm infrastructure for the company which bears his family name.
While his wisdom and direction helped establish Welch Allyn as a leader in the medical manufacturing industry, it was his personal traits of loyalty, kindness and generosity that established the genuine company culture which still exists today. His favorite saying, "Be always kind and true," was first brought to life when W.G. established one of the first employee pension programs in New York State, or in the many Saturdays he spent providing free eye exams to Welch Allyn employees and their families. The spirit of William G. Allyn still exists today and remains at the heart of Welch Allyn and all its successes, and through the Allyn Foundation whose mission is to improve the quality of life in Central New York.