By Terry Rogers
The month of October has been designated Manufacturing Month and, in celebration, Milford Live will be highlighting the manufacturing companies that make Milford great. The first in our series is Dentsply Sirona, normally referred to by Milfordians as “LD Caulk.”
Dentsply Sirona began in the late 1800s when dentist, Levi Dawson Caulk began a dental supply company while he was living in the Midwest due to failing health. At one time, the company was the largest industry in Milford.
“Milford is the largest manufacturing site within the company’s Formulated Products division that focuses on manufacturing products for the consumable segment of our business,” Marion Par—Weixlberger, Director of Corporate Communications and Public Relations, said. “Primarily, the Milford site focuses on products that support restorative dentistry, however, the site also specializes in the manufacture of products used in endodontics treatment, preventive dentistry and dental prostheses.” Par-Weixlberger explained that some of the items manufactured in Milford include filling materials, cements, adhesives, denture fabrication materials, root canal irrigation materials, prophy pastes, tooth whiteners and more.
Dr. Caulk moved back to Delaware from the Midwest in 1877 and began manufacturing dental materials in a shed behind his home. In 1891, Dr. Layton Grier opened a dental office in Milford before moving to Dover and opening a practice there. His brother, Frank, took over the Milford practice. Layton and Dr. Caulk became friends and Dr. Caulk often rode on horseback to discuss ideas with Layton. On one of these trips, Dr. Caulk fell from his horse and was injured. He died of pneumonia a short time alter on April 17, 1896. Mrs. Caulk and her daughter, Florence, convinced Layton to give up his dental practice and take over the manufacturing business. The following year, Frank and Florence married.
In 1900, the Grier brothers moved the manufacturing business to Milford where it grew steadily. The name of the company remained L.D. Caulk Company until 1963 when it was purchased by Dentsply International. Until 2016, the company was known as Dentsply Caulk. In 2016, Dentsply International and Sirona Dental Systems merged to create Dentsply Sirona, the world’s largest manufacturer of professional dental products and technologies.
“Today, Dentsply Sirona’s Milford location includes two manufacturing sites and a warehouse,” Par-Weixlberger said. “The 180,000-square foot Lakeview facility includes one of the original buildings, which was built in 1911 and is still used for the manufacture of consumable products. The 70,000-square foot West Facility was built in the 1980s. Dentsply Sirona sells its products globally and employs 15,000 people around the world. In Milford, the company employs 475 associates holding positions in the Supply Chain, Product Group, Quality, Human Resources and Finance functions.” Par-Weixlberger stated that there are several new product lines the Milford team supports.
According to Par-Weixlberger, Dentsply Sirona began a transformation with goals to grow, improve margins and simplify the organization.
“The plan focuses on innovation, investing in growing markets and shaping our portfolio to ensure that our product portfolio positions our company to meet our customer’s evolving needs, now and in the future. The company invests more than $150 million annually in research and development focused on best design, ergonomics and improved workflows for dental professionals. We are excited by the opportunities we see in the future as we work every day to deliver innovative dental solutions to improve oral health worldwide.”
Anyone interested in applying to work at Dentsply Sirona can do so online where they can also view positions that are available.