1866 : Duffield, Parke & Company Organized; Destined to Become World’s Largest Pharmaceutical Co.

October 26, 2021 all-day

Dr. Samuel Duffield, a chemist and physician, opened a drug store in 1862 in Detroit at Cass and Henry and began manufacturing drugs over the store.

In 1866, he took on a business partner, Hervey C. Parke, and in 1867 they hired George S. Davis as a third partner and the first salesman.

Parke was a businessman looking for business opportunities and Davis, an ambitious man with skills in sales. Duffield withdrew in 1869 because of poor health and an interest in practicing medicine. The partnership adopted the name Parke, Davis or Parke-Davis in 1871, and was formally incorporated as Parke, Davis & Company in 1875 and would go on to becomeĀ  the world’s largest pharmaceutical company and played an important role in medical history.

Parke-Davis is credited with building the first modern pharmaceutical laboratory and developing the first systematic methods of performing clinical trials of new medications. The Parke-Davis Research Laboratory is a National Historic Landmark; the surrounding Parke-Davis and Company Pharmaceutical Company Plant is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The production facility on Parkdale Road in what was then Avon Township, Michigan (now in Rochester, Michigan) was also a landmark in that vicinity and is now used by PAR Pharmaceuticals.

No photo description available.
Parke-Davis Headquarters around 1950.
Parke-Davis is now a subsidiary of the pharmaceutical company Pfizer, which left Michigan in 2007 .