Morrison’s Epiphany: The History of Microban® Technology

It all began with a phone call.

In the late 1960s, W.L. Morrison thought he was simply returning a routine call to a physician who was looking for help designing a system to keep disposable medical products clean and fresh longer. As they talked about infection control in the medical environment, the M.I.T.-trained entrepreneur noticed the telephone receiver in his hand and thought of the potential for contamination on the average public pay phone and how it might be controlled. This one question led to the development of the first truly antimicrobial polymeric products for both medical and consumer applications.

Over the years, Morrison’s original concepts have undergone significant refinement and have made the transition from the laboratory to the “real world”, thanks to an experienced team of professionals with the resources to make dreams a reality.

Morrison’s dream became reality with the formation of Microban Products Company

Microban Products Company was incorporated in 1984 and received its commercial start from Clinitex Corporation, founded by Glenn Cueman, Henry Richbourg and Barnwell Ramsey in 1987. Clinitex produced orthopedic devices and specialty medical products, many of which incorporated MICROBAN® technology, which was based on the original work by W.L. Morrison.

With a background in global biomedical product development from their days at the Zimmer Division of Bristol-Myers, these three entrepreneurs saw the potential to incorporate safe, long-lasting and effective antimicrobial ingredients into products other than medical devices.

Since 1984, Microban Products Company has made the concept of antimicrobial polymers, coatings and end-use products a practical and affordable enhancement for a variety of industries and markets. Proprietary processes, numerous patents and regulatory registrations protect these technologies. Through the use of this proprietary technology, Microban® antimicrobial protection can be incorporated into a wide variety of consumer, industrial and medical products to provide continuous, safe and effective protection against a broad spectrum of odor and stain causing bacteria, mold, mildew, fungus and yeast.

The Microban® brand goes global with the formation of Microban International, Ltd.

In 1994, another group of entrepreneurs led by William S. Rubinstein formed Microban International, Ltd. to distribute and license Microban® antimicrobial compounds and technology to a broad range of partners outside the United States. Both businesses continued to grow rapidly and it became apparent that combining the two entities would lead to the world’s first global branded antimicrobial company. With the backing of outside venture capital investors, Microban International purchased Microban Products Company in late 1999.

The combination of its patents, proprietary technology and significant brand-building efforts worldwide as well as the successes of its licensees, uniquely positions Microban International as the leader in providing built-in antimicrobial protection that lasts for the life of the product.

Acquisition by Barr Brands International

In 2011, Barr Brands International acquired Microban International as part of its strategic direction to provide products where the care of home and property and the care of the person intersect. In addition to Microban, Barr Brands International hosts a number of leading brands such as Damp Rid, Mold Armor and Goof Off. Barr Brands International is 100% owned by its employees, and current employees participate in an Employee Stock Ownership Program (ESOP).

Our corporate culture, developed from the inception of the company, is one of trust, fairness, investment in quality, unequaled service, and a commitment to long-term relationships with partners requiring a reliable business partner. We are proud that some of our relationships have lasted over 25 years and are now stronger than ever.

Today, Microban International operates as in independent subsidiary headquartered in Huntersville, NC, where its executive team and all major global functions are based. The North Carolina facility also contains one of the largest and most advanced antimicrobial laboratories in the world, conducting over 40,000 tests per year. In addition to the global headquarters, regional offices are located in the Cannock, UK, São Paulo, Brazil as well as Hong Kong and Shenzhen, China. The Microban brand and technology is featured on over 1000 products from 250 leading manufacturers across the globe.


Microban® is committed to protecting and conserving the environment by seeking innovative solutions that encourage long-term sustainability.

Our LEED certified corporate headquarters in Huntersville, North Carolina are located on 10-acres of wooded land of which 40% remains undisturbed, preserving the natural habitat that surrounds us.

Built in 2009, our building is a virtual showcase of Microban® protected products, including cork floors, countertops, paint and towel dispensers. Our windows are designed to maximize sunlight. Low-flow plumbing fixtures and faucets with hand sensors, lighting systems with timers and motion sensors, and high-efficiency HVAC systems save energy. During construction we recycled more than 80% of the construction waste, totaling 52 tons. Most of the materials were produced within 500 miles, reducing the amount of fuel used in transportation.

Our LEED certified corporate headquarters in Huntersville, North Carolina are located on 10-acres of wooded land of which 40% remains undisturbed, preserving the natural habitat that surrounds us.