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The Most Valuable Companies in America Over 100 Years

How much has business value shifted in a century?


Courtesy of Visual Capitalist


1917: The Industrial Era


Standard Oil, which controlled over 90% of all oil in the US by 1900, was split into 34 separate companies after a ruling by the supreme court in the antitrust aftermath.

This paved the way for US Steel to become the world's first "billion dollar" company and reign supreme in the US based on the value of its assets.


1967: The Hardware Era


Flash-forward 50 years and the big oil companies are still around.

Standard Oil of N.J. is the fifth biggest company in the country. Texaco and Gulf Oil (eventually merged into Chevron) are also featured in the top 10.

Aside from oil, this era seems dominated by companies making new pieces of tech. IBM was in the middle of making some of the first and most advanced computers, and both Kodak and Polaroid were making the newest cameras. General Electric, a conglomerate, made everything from computers to jet engines at this time.


2017: The Platform Era


Today, platforms like Facebook, Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Apple have taken over, while many of the big names from 1967 (such as Polaroid, Kodak and Sears Canada) have all filed for bankruptcy. As for the big names of 1917, only American Telephone & Telegraph remains of significance.


This raises the question: what will the next 50 years hold, and how many names from the 2017 list will remain?



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