Origins of Schuco, the early years and the Hyfrecator…
Although Schuco London was established as its own company in 1957, its heritage dates back much further, in fact as far back as 1908! Originally this was an American firm “Schueler & Co” – hence the logo and brand of “Schuco”… This was a global export business for medical devices with headquarters in New York, and later subsidiary offices in Hamburg, Copenhagen, Tokyo and London.
Felix Huttrer and his wife Mary had family connections to Mr Schueler, and starting from the front room of their house they started and ran the London office in 1957.
One of the first major success stories was the introduction of the Hyfrecator in 1962. Felix travelled to the USA to complete the deal and receive product training. It soon became, and still is, the market leading device for skin surgery within dermatology and general practice – with nearly 20,000 Hyfrecators supplied in the UK and Ireland to date. Have a look at our most recent Hyfrecator here…
As business at Schuco London took off, naturally more space and more staff were needed. In 1966 Felix moved the company to offices in Finchley where he was then able to employ additional people for servicing and administration. Schuco began its development into a “real” business, laying the foundations for what has followed during more than five decades.
The Schuco Flu Service, the Dermojet and the Hickman Line…
The 70’s bought about big changes for Schuco. We made headlines when the Portojet was featured on the BBC show Tomorrow’s World; this was a mass vaccination gun developed for the Porton Down Germ Warfare Unit.
It was sold to the British military to help protect soldiers from potential biological warfare during the cold war and to third world countries, where it was used in the fight against Cholera and Typhoid. The Schuco Flu service was formed as a subsidiary business offering mass vaccinations for schools, factories and other large organisations. Most famously Chelsea FC were vaccinated under the Schuco Flu Service!
Then came the Dermojet, offering needle free injections for dermatology applications. After more than 50 years, the Dermojet is still in our product portfolio for treatment of alopecia, hypertrophic and keloid scars and local anaesthetic for needle phobic patients. Read more about our DermoJet here…
Back in the 1970s, cancer patients began receiving more and more effective cocktails of chemotherapy. However, the ability of doctors to maintain regular access to patients’ veins was a big problem, much in the same way that drug addicts on the street would run out of sites to inject. The Hickman line overcame this problem for cancer and later, for AIDs treatments.
Schuco was the UK importer for this ground-breaking advancement in healthcare and we’re proud of the part we played in supporting and educating the British medical profession. The Hickman line catheter was undoubtedly one of the most significant medical technology innovations of its generation and has saved thousands or perhaps millions of lives globally ever since.
Our final noteworthy mention for this era is The Kidde Automatic Pneumatic Tourniquet; a fully mobile solution which enabled anaesthetists to go to a pre-op location to prepare a patient’s anaesthetic for limb surgery. This in turn freed up valuable theatre time for surgeons to perform procedures on other patients.
New partnerships, aesthetics & Felix…
We continued making big strides forward with our research and partnerships into the 90’s and 00’s. The rapid development in computing power, access to the internet and mobile phone technology saw the acceleration of all things telemedicine. In our field that meant the appliance of science to the early detection of skin cancer. We partnered with German manufacturer Fotofinder who were one of the pioneers of mole mapping. 15 years on we’re still proud to represent this family owned company; their innovative, automated total body mapping ATBM has been a clear market leader that changed the pathway for clinicians and patients alike.
Meanwhile 3Gen launched the first cross polarised contactless dermatoscope and their devices have gone from strength to strength with the current DL4 truly being the dermatologist’s “stethoscope”. It is through longstanding exclusive partnerships with leading manufactures such as 3Gen that we have been able to build our growth. These and many other dynamic international relationships remain a vital part of our success today.
2003 saw the sad loss of our founder Felix Huttrer. An engineer by training and at heart, Felix’s passion was to tinker with machines and gadgets of all sorts. “I have a friend called Felix who can fix anything” is a famous James Bond film quote, said about the American CIA agent that Bond sometimes called upon when in a scrape. This was true of our Felix, who had the unique gift of knowing how to turn ideas into great business. His legacy lives on today.
Life begins at 50…
2007 passed without much fanfare as there was simply too much to do. This period saw us increasingly serving the growing private dermatology market based on our established stable of thoroughbred brands such as the Hyfrecator, Stiefel punches & curettes, DermLites and the like. Collaborations with organisations such as Skcin allowed us to give something back by actively supporting charities related to skin cancer.
With dermatologists and the new breed of aesthetic practitioners hungry to meet a growing demand, it was a natural evolution for Schuco to gradually enter the field of aesthetics, cosmetic surgery and anti-ageing. A new HQ was needed, and in 2013 came the move from Finchley to Watford. The Schuco Academy was born, and our portfolio broadened to include Universkin – a bespoke skincare system – as well as more recently the Princess range of Dermal Fillers and Threads from Croma.
Becoming headline sponsor at industry events such as CCR Expo and Aesthetics Conference feels like the culmination of a very long journey from being on the outside looking in, to being somewhat “center stage”.
Nevertheless, our industry very much highlights that time stands still for no one, so 2018 finds us very much on the front foot exploring new opportunities. These include some exciting new surgical, dermatology and aesthetics products – so watch this space!
Thank you for reading about our history and being part of our journey. It’s been important to pause and reflect on our achievements and milestones during the first 60 years but hopefully it’s onwards and upwards and we can continue to play our part in shaping the industry as new technologies unfold.
Paul Huttrer, CEO.