Dr. Howard Naylor didn’t choose his path so much as his path chose him. Against his father’s wishes, Dr. Naylor left his hometown of Morris, New York and set out for Cornell University, where he planned to become an engineer. Fortunately, Dr. Naylor soon found his way into veterinary science, and the rest – as they say – is history.
Dr. Naylor graduates from Cornell and returns to Morris, NY with his wife, Dorothy.
In the early 1920s, animal care was quite crude, compared to modern medicine. According to Dr. Jerome Payton, a veterinarian and 30-year associate of Dr. Naylor, “There was little preventive medicine. It was more [of] a fire engine process. You’d go and treat the diseases as they occurred.”
Dr. Naylor becomes disturbed by the use of folk remedies to treat disease.
Naylor traveled, first by horse and buggy, then by Model-T Ford, to visit clients. He became disturbed by the frequent use of folk remedies, which caused infection. Most irksome were the pieces of wood, match sticks and clove sticks that farmers inserted into the wounded teats of their cows, which were meant to keep the teat open during the milking period.
Dr. Naylor creates his own teat dilators, using pipe cleaners, wax and antiseptic lotion.
According to his 29-year-old grandson, John Elliott, Vice President of H.W. Naylor Company, Inc., Dr. Naylor was “a frustrated engineer who liked to work with new ideas.” He adds, “It was his inquisitiveness—which now might be labeled something like ‘scientific imagination’ and then was known as ‘tinkering’ — that led to the company’s growth and reputation for quality.
Orders for Dr. Naylor’s products grow quickly.
When word of Naylor’s invention spread, customers’ orders for the dilators increased. What was originally a husband and wife operation expanded into a village industry. Although Dr. Naylor’s wife Dorothy challenged him that she could make as many dilators as he could sell, the demand quickly outstripped her capacity.
Dr. Naylor expands his animal hospital to open a small factory.
Neighbors were enlisted in the venture, but by 1926 the orders outgrew the cottage industry and Dr. Naylor opened a small factory by expanding his animal hospital. Though Dr. Naylor spent less time practicing veterinary medicine, he took a few special jobs, like consulting the Busch estate (of Anheuser-Busch fame) regarding the health of a baby elephant.
Today, the company remains a family business working to fill niche markets left unfulfilled by larger corporations. The H.W. Naylor Company is one of the largest businesses in Morris, NY. Employee loyalty is phenomenal, often life-long, and a true reflection of Dr. Howard Naylor’s unyielding service.