25 of the Oldest Active Companies in the United States
Most startups fail. It's hard to create the sort of capital you need to start a business and hard to create the necessary revenue to sustain and grow.
But, it's even harder to stay relevant as time goes along. Radio replaced some of newspapers' popularity, then T.V. replaced radio, then the internet replaced T.V., and the internet will probably be replaced some day by a new technology we haven't even considered yet. That's just how the world of business seems to go.
That's why we have to stop and appreciate the rare companies on this list who have been able to change and adapt through centuries without missing a beat. Consider this: The youngest company on this list is almost 200, and the oldest is 163 years older than the Declaration of Independence. And they're still going strong! That's the sort of legacy every entrepreneur dreams about.
Start the slideshow to see some of the oldest existing companies in America.
West of the Mississippi: Rose Law Firm of Little Rock
Clothing: Brooks Brothers founded in 1818
Flowers: Breck's founded in 1818
Firearms: Remington founded in 1816
Pottery: Louisville Stoneware founded in 1815
Publishing: Wiley founded in 1807
In 1807, the business was a single print shop that Charles Wiley opened in Manhattan. Today, John Wiley & Sons, Inc. is a billion-dollar business, having published works by the likes of Edgar Allen Poe and Washington Irving.
Starches, soaps and candles: Colgate founded in 1806
Chemicals: DuPont founded in 1802
Paper: Crane & Co. founded in 1801
Jewelry: Shreve, Crump & Low founded in 1796
Almanacs: Old Farmer's Almanac founded in 1792
Stocks: New York Stock Exchange founded in 1792
Law: Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft founded in 1792
Baking: King Arthur Flour founded in 1790
When Henry Wood began importing European flour to Long Wharf in Boston in 1790, we're pretty sure King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table were still ruling England (really it was King George III, but it's impressive either way).
Banking: The Bank of New York Mellon founded in 1784
Distilling: Laird & Company founded in 1780
Chocolates and sweets: Baker's founded in 1765
Originally called "Hannan's Best Chocolate" and run by John Hannon in Dorchester, Mass., the chocolate shop first changed hands when Hannan took a trip to the West Indies and never returned (it was easier than getting a divorce at the time, apparently). His wife sold the company to Dr. James Baker in 1780, who changed the name to Baker Chocolate Company.
Today, the Baker Chocolate Company is owned by Mondelez International.
Newspapers: The Hartford Courant founded in 1764
Apothecary: Caswell-Massey founded in 1752
Tools and transmission: The Rowland Company founded in 1732
Stone carving: The John Stevens Shop founded in 1705
Now, we're getting into some serious history. The John Stevens Shop (like Caswell-Massey, founded in Newport, R.I.) is one of four bussinesses on this list that has been around for three centuries, and it's worked on some pretty significant works of stone art like the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C. and the Pacific Arch of the National World War II Memorial.