MARCONI MEDICAL SYSTEMS, a division of Philips Medical Systems, was created in 1999 out of Picker International, Inc., then a leading manufacturer of medical diagnostic systems. Picker International began in New York City when druggist James Picker first supplied Kodak x-ray plates and accessories to local hospitals in 1909. Picker organized the James Picker Co. in 1915 to offer sales and service of X-ray equipment and supplies. In 1921, Picker incorporated the firm as the Picker X-Ray Corp. After acquiring a New York X-ray manufacturing facility in 1929, Picker established a second facility in Cleveland in 1930. Located at E. 30th St. and Superior Ave., the plant developed and produced a variety of new X-ray apparatus. In 1936 the operation moved to larger quarters at 17325 Euclid Ave., where the Picker X-Ray Corp.-Waite Manufacturing Division Inc. was organized. During World War II, Picker was the only company producing completely mobile field X-ray units for the Allied Forces.
In 1946 Picker's New York manufacturing operations were moved to Cleveland, and the Picker Instruments Division was organized here in the 1950s. The company had sales of $41.5 million and employed 700 people in 1958, when the Picker family sold the business to CIT Financial Corp. A new research center at 1020 London Rd. opened the following year, and the Nuclear Medicine Division was established. In 1967 the company shortened its name to Picker Corp. to reflect its diverse operations. Picker's manufacturing division moved to a new facility at 595 Miner Rd. in HIGHLAND HTS. that year and this move was followed by the relocation of its world headquarters from White Plains N.Y. to Highland Hts. in 1970.
Business declined in the 1970s, leading CIT Financial to sell Picker to the RCA Corp. in 1980. This sale was followed by another to the General Electric Co. of England in 1981. GEC combined Picker with several of it subsidies in related industries to create Picker International, Inc., in 1984. Picker became a leading producer of ultrasound scanning equipment in the 1970s, but moved away from ultrasound equipment in 1986 when the company produced the first magnetic resolution imager (MRI). In 1994 Picker was a global leader in diagnostic imaging with such innovations as magnetic resonance imaging and CT (computer tomography) scanning. At that time, the company employed approximately 1,600 in northeast Ohio and had 4,700 employees worldwide. Sales in fiscal year 1994 were $1.01 billion. By 1998, annual sales at the company reached $1.241 billion and Picker International employed 4,300 worldwide with 1,600 in northeast Ohio. In 1999, the company changed its name to Marconi Medical Systems, as General Electric Co. of England attempted to rebrand itself under the Marconi name in order to differentiate itself from the General Electric Co., based in the United States. Marconi Medical Systems retained three divisions: Picker Medical Imaging, Picker Information Management, and Picker Health Care Products. In 2001, Royal Philips Electronics of the Netherlands acquired Marconi Medical Systems for $1.1 billion in cash. The acquisition added Marconi's CT and MRI businesses to Philip's existing medical systems operations and made Philips Medical a company with annual revenues of $7 billion and over 200,000 employees worldwide. With the merger, Marconi Medical Systems reduced nearly one-quarter of its existing workforce. In 2005, Marconi Medical Systems' world headquarters were located at 595 Miner Rd. in Cleveland.