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Water Pik Inc., 50th Anniversary

Early waterpik oral irrigator
Early Waterpik® oral irrigator design

How Did Water Pik Get Started?

A dentist in Fort Collins, Colorado named Dr. Gerald Moyer came up with the idea of oral irrigation because he saw a need for a way to wash away debris from the gums. He began exploring ways to develop a motorized technology that included a separate unit with a reservoir. Soon, John ("Matt") Mattingly entered the picture and became a valuable asset to Dr. Moyer. Matt was a hydraulic engineering professor at Colorado State University. After a few years of work and trying to build a motor, they succeeded on their 146th try. A patent was applied for based on the pulsating frequency of the unit.

The Business Foundation

Photo of waterpik headquarters 1962 to 1964
The "Little Green House" headquarters 1962 to 1964

From 1962 to 1964, the headquarters of Aqua Tec (the company that would become Water Pik) were located in what was known as the "little green house" in Fort Collins. The company's founders created and built the original oral irrigators in this 1,000 square foot home (left).

Moyer and Mattingly started building the business by loaning the original units (known then as the "Octopus") to patients. They also wanted to raise $50,000 to finance a marketing program. Gene Rouse, a patient who tried the oral irrigator, helped with the fundraising effort and became the first president of the company.

Building the Business

Throughout the years, Water Pik continued to improve the design and functionality of oral irrigation devices and incorporate the needs of dentists and hygienists. As a result, new products continued to reflect enhanced quality, improved oral health benefits, and greater ease of use for customers. Over the years the company dabbled in an array of products and remained influential in the Fort Collins, Colorado community.

Did you know?

During the 1970's, Water Pik, Inc. manufactured a surgical jet lavage, which was used by the military in Vietnam to cleanse wounds. This product was later sold to the Stryker Corporation, a medical technology company.