Investing

America's Oldest Brands

5. Poland Spring
> Product: Beverage
> Product launched: 1845
> Company founded: 1845

Though people tend to think bottled water is a relatively new product, Poland Spring proves them wrong. In 1845, the Ricker family began bottling and selling spring water. By 1860, Poland Spring was being sold all over the country. Driving the brand’s early fame was its affiliation with the Poland Springs Resort and its purported health benefits. The brand remains as popular as ever: Poland Spring was named the strongest bottled water brand in 2012 by the Harris Poll EquiTrend study.

Also Read: America’s Most (and Least) Livable States

4. Schaefer Beer
> Product: Beer
> Product launched: 1842
> Company founded: 1842

F. & M. Schaefer Brewing Company, which makes Schaefer Beer, was founded by brothers Frederick and Maximilian Schaefer. Frederick had immigrated to the U.S. from Germany in 1838, and Maximilian followed him in 1839, bringing along a formula for lager. By 1842, the two brothers purchased a small brewery in New York City. Over the 19th and 20th century, the company, and its beers, developed a wider following. An advertising campaign created the famous jingle, Schaefer — “the one beer to have when you are having more than one.” By 1971, more than 5 million barrels of beer had been brewed. In 1981, the F. & M. Schaefer Brewing Company was purchased by the Stroh Brewing Company, which was purchased by the Pabst Brewing Company in 1999. Despite these changes in ownership, Schaefer Beer is still sold today.

3. Remington
> Product:
Rifles and rifle barrels
> Product launched: 1818
> Company founded: 1818

Remington was founded in Ilion Gulch, New York by Eliphalet Remington II. Though it started by making gun barrels, according to the National Firearms Museum, Remington made its first completed firearm in 1848, when it was contracted by the U.S. Navy to manufacture 1,000 Jenks carbine rifles. The company has evolved somewhat since its founding. It incorporated as a stock company called E. Remington & Sons in 1865. In 1888 it was acquired by Marcellus Hartley and partners and renamed Remington Arms Company. From 1933 to 1993 it was partly, and later wholly owned by E.I du Pont de Nemours & Co. Despite all these changes, Remington rifles have been a constant. Of course, the rifles Remington makes have evolved to the present semi-automatic, autoloading models manufactured and sold today.

2. Crane & Co.
> Product: Stationery
> Product launched: 1801
> Company founded: 1799

Crane Paper has been made since 1799, when Zenas Crane began milling cotton paper. Under Zenas, the company began producing stationery paper in 1801. Among those who used stationary crafted from Crane’s paper were Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, and the Queen Mother—who announced the celebration of her 100th birthday using Crane’s paper. Crane & Co. has continued to use cotton paper, even as other companies have moved to tree pulp for making paper, a cheaper alternative. The company’s cotton paper is not just used for stationary, but also for currency. Since 1879, the company has provided the U.S. Treasury with currency paper, a business which accounts for a lion’s share of their revenue.

Also Read: America’s Most Dangerous Luxury Cars

1. Baker’s Chocolate
> Product:
Chocolate
> Product launched: 1780
> Company founded: 1780

Baker’s Chocolate has, as a brand, been produced consistently since 1780, when Dr. John Baker purchased the outstanding shares in his own company from his partner’s widow. One representative of Kraft Foods, present owners of the brand, told 24/7 Wall St. that “not much has changed, except the packaging.” Yet even the packaging has remained remarkably consistent over time. La Belle Chocolaterie, the female figure seen on packages of Baker’s, has been featured on Baker’s Chocolate packages for over 100 years.

By Douglas A. McIntyre, Alexander E.M. Hess and Samuel Weigley