INVACARE CORPORATION began in Elyria, Ohio, in 1889 as the Worthington Company that focused on manufacturing and selling wheelchairs. The company changed its name to the Colson Company following a merger with a manufacturer of rubber-tired wheels and became a major supplier of bicycles with wheelchairs becoming a secondary product. Colson moved from Elyria in 1952. At that time the wheelchair division was purchased by three employees and renamed Mobilaid, Inc. Mobilaid remained in Elyria for the following decades with wheelchairs remaining the main focus of the company through the 1970s. In 1971 Boston Capital Corporation purchased Mobilaid and changed its name to Technicare. In 1971. Technicare purchased the Invalex Walker and Wheelchair Company and moved it to Elyria. Mobilaid and Invalex were combined to create Invacare, which operated as a subsidiary of Cleveland-based Technicare until 1979. At that time the Vice President of Marketing, A. Malachi (“Mal”) Mixon helped the company branch out into diagnostic imaging.
In 1978 Johnson & Johnson purchased Technicare, but decided to sell Invacare later that year. Mixon was interested in buying Invacare and raised $2.5 million and borrowed another $4.3 million to do so. The transaction was concluded at the end of 1979. At the time Mixon bought the company, Invacare employed 350 people and sales totaled about $19 million with a product line focused on wheelchairs and limited mobility patient aids fabricated in three plants in Ohio
Invacare become a public company in 1984. By 1996, sales dramatically increased from the $19 million in 1979, to $620 million. By that time, Invacare was a world leader in wheelchairs and the manufacture and distribution of home health care products. From 1994 to 1996, 75 new products were introduced within 20 global product lines. In the late 1990s, Invacare marketed in 80 countries and had over 4,000 employees, while headquartered in Elyria, Ohio.
Invacare subsequently expanded to 30 product lines and as of 2019 employed 4,500. Global sales (in approximately 100 countries) totaled over $1 billion. Mixon retired as CEO in 2015 and was succeeded by Matthew E. Monaghan who also became chairman of the board.
Invacare is a member of the ONE HUNDRED YEAR CLUB OF THE WESTERN RESERVE.