History of Michigan Instruments

The Thumper Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation System has been the proven leader in mechanical CPR for more than 45 years! Our Training & Test Lung product line has been the "gold standard" in human lung simulation for more than 35 years!

Michigan Instruments has changed and evolved throughout its history. The timeline below represents milestones since the company was founded in 1963.


Clare Barkalow founded the company as Michigan Instruments in Grand Rapids, Michigan, with a handful of other researchers from Lear Siegler. The automated chest compressor was actually invented in the Advanced Engineering Projects department at Lear Siegler. Its unofficial tradename was the ‘ECC’ for External Cardiac Compressor.


The ‘ECC’ was brought to the market as the Model 1001 around the same time that CPR itself was first ‘invented’. About 100 systems were manufactured and sold in the U.S.  It included a pneumatically powered chest compressor, but no ventilator.


The first published CPR guidelines were released by the National Research Council of the American Heart Association. Clare Barkalow led the way as one of the foremost authorities on CPR.


Developed Model 1002 which was an adjunct ventilator designed for use with the Model 1001.


The Model 1001 and the Model 1002 were combined resulting in the Model 1003, which was the first system to have both a chest compressor and a ventilator. The Model 1003 was marketed through various distributors under their own names and tradenames. One of these was Dixie U.S.A that marketed the unit under the tradename Life-Aid®. Dixie was one of the first sales organizations to market emergency medical products.   


Dixie took over marketing the product exclusively internationally. The Thumper® tradename was introduced.


The Model 1004 was introduced, and it was the first unit to have a color-coded method for prescribing chest compression depth based on patient size.


Medical Device Amendments were passed into law. Michigan Instruments became obligated to list devices with the FDA. Training & Test Dual Adult Lung model was introduced under the trademark TTL® and VentAid®. It had originally been created in the mid 1960s for use in-house as a development tool to design the ECC ventilator.


Testing of hospital equipment started to be standardized.


Adult Infant Lung model introduced as the ‘LifeSpan’ TTL.


Relocated to 6300 28th Street SE from 305 W Fulton Street (downtown) where the Meijer Public Broadcasting Center (part of Grand Valley State University) is now located.


The experimental "Programmable Thumper®" based on a 6502 embedded microprocessor system was developed and quickly became the standard tool for CPR research.


The Model 1005 was introduced. This system had an improved pneumatic control system built using components requiring a lower input pressure and an increased capacity for patient size and chest force.


First trip to Japan to kickoff a field study and the introduction of the Thumper® to the medical community.


PneuView® (DOS based) software with the electronic instrumentation was introduced in the Training and Test Lung product line.


Relocated to 4717 Talon Court SE from 6300 28th Street SE. 


PneuView® (Windows based) software was developed to replace the DOS based version.  The single lung was developed.


The Model 1007 was introduced in Japan.


The Model 1007 was introduced in the U.S.


Development of the Model 1007 Thumper® CC and CCV versions.


The Model 1008 Life-Stat® was released on September 19. This model featured electronic system control and is current with AHA guidelines.

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