Joseph R. Coulter Jr. (1924-1995)
Joseph Richard Coulter, Jr., served as President, CEO and co-founder of Coulter Corporation until his death in 1995. Coulter Corporation was acquired in October 1997 by Beckman Instruments, forming Beckman Coulter.
Together with his brother, Wallace, who died in August 1998, Joseph built Coulter Corporation from its modest beginnings in a Chicago basement to a multinational corporation and leader in the design and manufacture of high-tech laboratory diagnostic systems.
The company was founded on the patented Coulter Principle, an electronic, automated way of counting and measuring the size of microscopic particles. This technology, used in the Coulter Counter® analyzers, forever changed clinical diagnostics and medical research by eliminating the labor-intensive and often fallible method of manually counting blood cells. The Coulter Principle is widely used today to count and size a myriad of microscopic particles in medical and industrial applications.
The son of a railroad dispatcher and telegrapher, Joe was born in Poplar Bluff, Missouri, and was always interested in electronics. During World War II, he enlisted in the U.S. Army where he served as a trained radio operator for the U.S. Signal Corps. He also played trombone in the army band.
Following the war, Joe went to Chicago and attended the Illinois Institute of Technology, where he earned a degree in Electrical Engineering. After graduation, he joined Motorola Corporation as Project Engineer in the company's Communications Division.
It was during these early post-war years that Joe and Wallace spent their spare time developing the Coulter Principle. Joe left Motorola and joined Wallace full-time to form Coulter Electronics, Inc. The two brothers worked together building and selling early versions of the Coulter Counter Model A Blood Cell and Particle Analyzer. This was the first of many new products they would develop in the years to come.
In 1958, the Coulters formally incorporated their company and, shortly thereafter, relocated operations to Miami.
Joe was an inventor and co-inventor of several of the company's earliest patents, and continued to play an active role in the engineering and design of most of the company's major product lines. He lived the company's mission - "science serving humanity" - and, in his later years, focused additional efforts on cancer and AIDS research. His dedication led to the creation of Coulter Pharmaceutical, Inc., which focused on the treatment of lymphoma cancer.