The Seldinger technique, invented by Dr. Sven-Ivar Seldinger in the early 1950s, allowed radiologists to gain access to the vascular system using simply a needle, wire guide, and catheter. The Seldinger technique was a medical breakthrough that enabled minimally invasive, percutaneous access that led to the first products manufactured by Cook.
An unsupported and evolving market existed for the three essential supplies needed for physicians to perform the technique. Without reliable access to the properly designed tools, physicians were forced to improvise their own Seldinger technique tools, using hypodermic needles and even using steel piano strings as wire guides.
Seldinger’s method needed a supplier, and Bill Cook’s knack for entrepreneurship needed a creative outlet. In 1960, Bill met with his radiologist cousin, Dr. Van Fucilla, who described the need for physicians to have properly designed tools at their fingertips in order to perform the Seldinger technique successfully. Bill saw this as an opportunity to fill a gap in the medical industry for physicians. In July 1963, Bill and Gayle Cook founded Cook Medical from a spare room in their apartment in Bloomington, Indiana. From that simple headquarters, they manufactured wire guides and catheters—the initial products of what would become a pioneering presence in the medical device industry.