Special Report

55 Oldest Continuously Sold Products in America

Courtesy of Palmer Candy Company via Facebook

What does it take for a product to survive and thrive generation after generation? For some companies, it is adhering to the ideas of a visionary founder; for others it’s adapting to the market. Some products that we’ve known forever have become part of conglomerates and, while they maintain their brand identity to a greater or lesser degree, have become just one of many products under a giant umbrella – but at least they’ve managed to last.

To determine the oldest products on the market in America, 24/7 Tempo derived information from History and other historical websites, company websites, state and city history sources, and various media outlets. Some material was updated from previous 24/7 lists.

Boldface names like Heinz, Kraft, and Campbell’s made the list. So did uniquely American soft drinks, including Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and Hires Root Beer – as well as one historic beer brand. (These are America’s 30 oldest beers.)

There are also some candy companies whose output has defied Father Time – and a number of firms, making candy and other products, still owned or run by their founding families. (These are the largest Fortune 500 companies still run by their founders.) 

Click here to see the 50 oldest products in America

Some of the items that have stood the test of time are household cleaning products such as 20 Mule Team Borax, Libman corn brooms, and Murphy’s Soap. And in the kitchen, you might use cutlery and cookware made by American companies that are more than 100 years old. 

Brands like Brooks Brothers, which has made ready-to-wear suits since the California Gold Rush of 1849, and luxury goods provider Tiffany remain the gold standards in their respective industries by not compromising on quality, even as tastes and their competitors have changed.

55. Chevrolet Suburban
> Birth year: 1935

The Chevy Suburban has the distinction for being the longest-running automotive nameplate in production. The first Suburban rolled off the assembly line in 1935 as the first steel-bodied, eight-passenger truck-based wagon, and it’s been in continuous production since – even during World War II, when it was adapted for use as a military vehicle. When the suburbs grew in the post-War years, the rugged and reliable Suburban remained the go-to family vehicle.

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54. A&W Root Beer
> Birth year: 1919

Roy Allen, whose last name eventually contributed the “A” to this famed root beer’s name, was not in the soft drink business. He bought and sold renovated hotels. While working on a deal in Tucson, Arizona, a pharmacist gave him a taste of a new drink. He loved it and bought the rights to the recipe in 1919. Allen opened a root beer stand in Lodi, California, handing out the beverage during a parade for returning World War I veterans – and the rest is history.

53. Goetze’s Caramel Creams
> Birth year: 1917

Another Maryland company is Goetze’s Candy Co., originally established as the Baltimore Chewing Gum Co. in 1895. In 1917, the Goetze family created a soft caramel candy called

Chuees, which evolved into their beloved Caramel Creams – also known as Bull’s Eyes.

52. Jolly Time Popcorn
> Birth year: 1914

The American Pop Corn Company., founded in 1914, is the oldest commercial popcorn maker in America. Consumers know its flagship product, Jolly Time. The company, based in Sioux City, Iowa, has been owned by the Smith family for more than 100 years.

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51. Kraft cheeses
> Birth year: 1909

Kraft was originally founded in Chicago in 1909 by J.L. Kraft, a Canadian immigrant. Kraft and his brothers grew the business by buying cheese in bulk from wholesalers and delivering it to grocers already packaged in tin foil and glass jars, saving the grocers money. Kraft expanded quickly and by 1912 had a line of 31 varieties of cheese. Kraft grew into a massive snack food and grocery company under various corporate umbrellas.

50. Kellogg’s cereals
> Birth year: 1906

Kellogg’s brought to market cereals such as Fruit Loops, Frosted Flakes, and Cocoa Krispies, made famous by the slogan “The best to you each morning.” But the Battle Creek, Michigan, company is best known for its emblematic Corn Flakes. It was founded, in fact, as the Battle Creek Toasted Corn Flake Co. in 1906, by Will Keith Kellogg.

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49. Anchor Hocking glassware
> Birth year: 1905

Anchor Hocking Co. glassware products have been manufactured since 1905. The company was founded by Isaac Jacob Collins in Lancaster, Ohio, and is named after the Hocking River.

48. Moore push pins
> Birth year: 1904

Moore Push Pin Co., located in Lansdale, Pennsylvania, was incorporated in 1904a. The company makes push pins, map tacks, and wall tacks.

47. Stormy Kromer hats
> Birth year: 1903

Stormy Kromer wool hats for men and women have been made since 1903. According to company history, the hat was created for George “Stormy” Kromer, a railroad engineer who kept losing his hat on the train. He asked his wife to sew an ear band on his cap to keep his ears warm and the hat secure. The factory is located in Ironwood, Michigan.

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46. Warther knives
> Birth year: 1902

Warther Cutlery has been handcrafted in Dover, Ohio, since 1902. It was founded by Ernest “Mooney” Warther, who, while whittling became frustrated by store-bought knives that became dull -so he started making his owns.

45. Quaker Oats
> Birth year: 1901

Quaker Oats Co., whose packaging shows a stalwart Quaker, was founded in 1901 after the merger of four oat mills in Ohio and Iowa. The company eventually expanded into breakfast cereals and food and drink products.

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44. Idaho candy
> Birth year: 1901

Idaho Candy Co. was founded in 1901 in Boise, Idaho, by itinerant candy maker T.O. Smith. The company makes 50 different candy bars in a factory that was built in 1909.

43. Murphy Oil Soap
> Birth year: 1900s

Murphy Oil Soap, a staple in many a pantry, is best known as a wood cleaner. The company has been in Cleveland, Ohio, since the early 1900s. It is now owned by Colgate-Palmolive.

42. Hickey Freeman menswear
> Birth year: 1899

Hickey Freeman was founded in Rochester, New York, in 1899. According to the company’s website, founders Jacob Freeman and Jeremiah Hickey wanted to “bring high-quality hand-tailoring to men from coast to coast.” The apparel company has been making suits and other menswear for more than 120 years.

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41. Pepsi-Cola
> Birth year: 1898

The soft drink we know as Pepsi-Cola, now a product of PepsiCo, based in Harrison, New York, traces its roots to New Bern, North Carolina, In 1898, when entrepreneurially minded pharmacist Caleb Bradham developed the cola he originally called Brad’s Drink.

40. Nabisco cookies and crackers
> Birth year: 1898

Snack maker Nabisco, headquartered in East Hanover, New Jersey, was founded in 1898 when the New York Biscuit Co. and the American Biscuit and Manufacturing Co. combined more than 100 bakeries to create the National Biscuit Co. – a name later elided to Nabisco. Among the company’s many familiar products the company makes Ritz Crackers, Wheat Thins, Triscuits, Teddy Grahams, Chips Ahoy!, and Lorna Doone.

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39. Gimbal’s candies
> Birth year: 1898

Gimbal’s has been making candy in San Francisco since Alexander Gimbal, the son of a Forty-Niner in the California Gold Rush, founded the company in 1898. It became particularly well-known for jelly beans, and the company was acquired by a rival, Jelly Belly, in 2019.

38. Entenmann’s cookies
> Birth year: 1898

The company was founded in Brooklyn in 1898 by German immigrant William Entenmann as a standalone bakery. He delivered products door to door. Entenmann’s customers included the Morgan and Vanderbilt families. The company expanded into grocery stores and opened bakeries in New Jersey and Connecticut and today has become an iconic brand of cookies and various kinds of pastry..

37. Barq’s Root Beer
> Birth year: 1898

Barq’s Root Beer was created by Edward Charles Edmond Barq in 1898 in Biloxi, Mississippi. Before moving there the previous year, Barq owned and operated a bottling company in New Orleans with his brother, Gaston. They bottled carbonated water and created their own sodas. In 1898, they started selling root beer. Barq’s is now owned by the Atlanta-based Coca-Cola Co.

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36. Palmer candies
> Birth year: circa 1898

Five generations have owned the Palmer Candy Co., which began in 1878 as a wholesale grocery and fruit company. In the late 1800s, the Palmers diversified and started making bulk and hard candy, hand-dipped boxed chocolates, gumdrops, and marshmallows, moving into a new four-story building in Sioux City, Iowa.

35. Libman corn brooms
> Birth year: 1896

Founded by Lithuanian immigrant William Libman, Libman Co., is known for its mops and cleaning tools. The Arcola, Illinois-based company is still family owned and has been producing traditional corn brooms – made with the tassels of sorghum (also called broomcorn) instead of straw – since 1896.

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34. Lodge cast-Iron cookware
> Birth year: 1896

Lodge Cast Iron, based in South Pittsburg, Tennessee, is one of the oldest makers of cookware in America. The company operates two foundries in South Pittsburg, producing cast-iron pans and pots that are acclaimed in kitchens all over America. .

33. Smith’s Rosebud Salve
> Birth year: 1895

Rosebud Perfume Co. was founded in 1895 by Dr. George F. Smith in a small drugstore in Woodsboro, Maryland. Its original products included Rosebud Salve (which Smith originally formulated in 1892), Tholene Mentholated Salve, and Rosebud and Vivian perfumes. According to the Rosebud website, “Dermatologists and druggists report that diaper rash, hemorrhoids, psoriasis, alopecia, and dry scalp are eased by the application of Rosebud Salve.”

32. Campbell’s tomato soup
> Birth year: 1895

America’s most famous soup maker was started in 1869 by two men from New Jersey – Joseph A. Campbell, a fruit merchant from Bridgeton, and Abraham Anderson, an icebox maker from Camden. The two got their start by producing canned tomatoes, vegetables, jellies, soups, condiments, and minced meats. The company’s signature tomato soup was born at beefsteak tomato soup, made from the state’s famous beefsteak tomatoes, in 1895, with the condensed version following two years later.

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31. 20 Mule Team Borax cleaner
> Birth year: 1891

20 Mule Team Borax, a brand of natural laundry booster, was founded in 1891. The name comes from the idea of hitching two teams of 10 mules each together to haul borax out of mines in Death Valley to the railroad. The company is known for sponsoring the radio and television programs “Death Valley Days.”

30. Narragansett Beer
> Birth year: 1890

Narragansett Beer was first brewed by German immigrants in 1890 and became a New England favorite. The company built refrigerated railroad cars to send beer to markets around New England and the mid-Atlantic states. During Prohibition, Narragansett made a line of sodas. The beverage is brewed in Providence, Rhode Island.

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29. W.R. Case & Sons knives
> Birth year: 1889

Case & Sons Cutlery Co. was founded by four brothers who sold handcrafted knives in upstate New York in the late 19th century. The knives are made today in Bradford, Pennsylvania. Case is now owned by the Zippo Manufacturing Co.

28. 1888 Mills towels
> Birth year: 1888

1888 Mills makes towels in Griffin, Georgia, and has been making them there since 1888. The cotton might be sourced in other countries but it is woven in the United States.

27. Coca-Cola
> Birth year: 1886

The Coca-Cola Co. got its start in 1886 when its namesake beverage was invented by pharmacist John Stith Pemberton in Atlanta. Its formula and brand were then bought in 1889 by Asa Griggs Candler, who incorporated the Coca-Cola Co. three years later. Among its early stockholders was baseball star Ty Cobb, who made millions on his investment.

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26. Dr Pepper
> Birth year: 1885

Dr Pepper is the oldest major soft-drink brand in America (the smaller Hires Root Beer is older; see below). The beverage was invented by pharmacist Charles Alderton in 1885 and sold at a drugstore in Waco, Texas. The company’s website reports that the drink was supposedly named after Dr. Charles Pepper, a friend of the drugstore owner.

25. Oscar Mayer hot dogs
> Birth year: 1883

German immigrant Oscar Mayer, who came to the United States at age 14, founded his namesake company in 1883 in Chicago. He and his brother began selling bratwurst, liverwurst, pork, and other meat products – possibly including hot dogs, then called wieners – that were popular in the city’s German neighborhoods.

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24. Vernor’s ginger ale
> Birth year: 1880

Vernor’s is the oldest surviving ginger-ale brand in the United States and one of the oldest sodas overall. According to legend, the drink was accidentally invented by James Vernor, a Detroit pharmacist, in the 1860s. Vernor went to fight in the Civil War, the story goes, and when he returned home, he realized he had left a concoction in an oak barrel for four years. It turned out its flavor had improved. Some say that he began selling the ginger ale in 1865 or ’66, and indeed the company celebrated its supposed 150th anniversary in 2016 – but when Vernor himself applied for a trademark (in 1911!), he reported that he’d started selling his soft drink in 1880.

23. Hardwick clothing
> Birth year: 1880

Hardwick Clothing, founded in 1880 by C.L. Hardwick and four business partners, is the oldest American-made tailored clothing manufacturer. Hardwick claims to have introduced the sport coat into American clothing lexicon. The company makes suits for men and women in Cleveland, Tennessee.

22. Heinz ketchup
> Birth year: 1876

Heinz, the name synonymous with ketchup, picnics, and summer dining, also makes sauces and pickles, among many other food products. (It’s slogan has long been “57 Varieties,” but that’s a made-up number.)Founded in 1869, its first product was horseradish. Its famously slow-pouring ketchup – now its flagship product – was introduced seven years later and it continues to dominate the market. Founded in Pittsburgh by H.J. Heinz, it is now part of the KraftHeinz company.

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21. Hires Root Beer
> Birth year: 1875

Hires Root Beer claims to be the longest continuously made soft drink in the United States. Philadelphia pharmacist Charles Hires began selling his version of a root beer in 1876. At first it was sold as a powder and in 1884, Hires began making a liquid extract and syrup to be used in soda fountains. By 1892, Hires was selling three million bottles of root beer a year.

20. Homer Laughlin china
> Birth year: 1871

Homer Laughlin China Co. was started in 1871 by brothers Homer and Shakespeare Laughlin. The company was honored at the Centennial Exposition of 1876 in Philadelphia where it was awarded for having the best white-ware on display. Today, the company is the oldest china manufacturer in the United States, making its products in Newell, West Virginia.

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19. Bollman hats
> Birth year: 1868

Bollman Hat Co., America’s oldest hat maker, is an employee-owned company that has continuously manufactured felt hats in Adamstown, Pennsylvania, since 1868. Thirteen of Bollman’s employees achieved more than 50 years of employment. Currently, there are 15 employee-owners with greater than 40 years of service.

18. Arm & Hammer baking soda
> Birth year: 1867

Arm & Hammer touts itself as “a trusted solution.” Its baking soda products have been owned by the same company, Church & Dwight, since 1867. Its signature hammer logo symbolizes Vulcan, the Roman god of fire.

17. Tabasco sauce
> Birth year: 1865

Tabasco sauce was developed by banker Edmund McIlhenny in 1865, after the Civil War destroyed his financial business. He began growing tabasco peppers (named for the Mexican state of Tabasco) on Avery Island, near the eastern salt marshes of Louisiana. He crushed the peppers, mixed in island salt, added French white vinegar, and let the mixture age for 60 days.

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16. Wilson Bohannan locks
> Birth year: 1860

When it comes to padlocks for business, Wilson Bohannan Lock Co. probably comes to mInd. The company was founded in Brooklyn more than 160 years ago and originally sold padlocks to railroad companies. Wilson Bohannan moved to Marion, Ohio, in 1926, where it continues to operate today.

15. Poland Spring water
> Birth year: 1859

Though people tend to think bottled water is a relatively new product, Poland Spring proves them wrong. The Ricker family, who ran the Wentworth Ricker Inn in Poland, Maine, opened in 1797, began promoting the local water as a cure for various diseases in the 1840s. In 1859, the Rickers began bottling the water, and within a year or so, Poland Spring was being sold all over the U.S.

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14. Keebler cookies
> Birth year: 1853

The Keebler Co. got its start when Godfrey Keebler opened a bakery in Philadelphia in 1853. In 1927, this bakery and others formed the United Biscuit Company of America. In 1936 the company became the official baker of Girl Scout Cookies, and a division is still licensed to make them. Among its “uncommonly good” products are E.L. Fudge Cookies, Vienna Fingers, Cheez-Its, and Town House Crackers. The famous Keebler Elves were created by an ad agency in 1968.

13. Merriam-Webster reference books
> Birth year: 1847

In 1843, G. & C. Merriam Co. purchased the rights to Noah Webster’s 1841 edition of “An American Dictionary of the English Language, Corrected and Enlarged.” In 1847, Merriam published its first Merriam-Webster dictionary. Though one of the country’s oldest brands, Merriam-Webster makes significant efforts to keep track of the latest linguistic trends.

12. Annin flags
> Birth year: 1847

Annin Flagmakers is the oldest flag maker in the United States and is considered the nation’s premier maker of “Old Glory.” Flag sales tend to track surges of patriotic fervor in the U.S., such as toward the end of the Civil War and the two world wars, and during the Bicentennial in 1976. Besides its New Jersey headquarters, Annin has factories in Virginia and Ohio.

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11. Brinly-Hardy lawn care products
> Birth year: 1839

Brinly-Hardy has been manufacturing lawn-care products since 1839. It was founded by John Brinly, a blacksmith from Kentucky. Besides shoeing horses and mules for settlers on the frontier, Brinly made plows. He is credited with making the first steel plow in the region. From those beginnings, the company eventually moved into lawn and garden tractor accessories, making its products in Jeffersonville, Indiana.

10. Tiffany luxury products
> Birth year: 1837

Tiffany & Co., originally founded as a “stationery and fancy goods emporium,” has been a leader in the industry for over 150 years. The company’s importance can be seen in the impact it has had on the silverware and jewelry business. Tiffany & Co. has used the same 925/1000 standard for silver purity since 1837 – a standard later adopted by the United States government for sterling silver. At the 1867 Paris Exposition Universelle, Tiffany was the first American company to win an award for its silverware. In 1871, the company introduced a flatware pattern, called Audobon, which to-date remains the company’s best-selling flatware. Today, Tiffany sells silver bracelets, necklaces, piggy banks, and silverware among many other other items.

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9. Jacob Bromwell brushes
> Birth year: 1819

Jacob Bromwell was founded in 1819 as a manufacturer of brushes, luxury flasks, kitchenware, and housewares in Cincinnati. Today, the company, whose logo is the founder’s signature, is located in Michigan City, Indiana, and claims to be the oldest housewares company in the U.S., and the oldest-known manufacturer of tin, stainless steel, and copper products in North America.

8. Brooks Brothers suits
> Birth year: 1818

Brooks Brothers, which helped define American style in suits, was founded in 1818 by Henry Sands Brooks. Brooks Brothers has dressed 39 presidents and industry leaders. Its first store opened in New York City, and it claims to be the oldest continuously operating apparel brand in America. Originally specializing in tailor-made clothing, the company made the first ready-to-wear suits in 1849, and it has sold them ever since. In 2020, in the face of the pandemic, the company filed for bankruptcy and closed 51 stores, but today, under the ownership of the Authentic Brands Group, it still has about 170 stores in North America plus hundreds more in other countries.

7. Libbey glass
> Birth year: 1818

Libbey Glass Co. was originally founded by William Libbey as the New England Glass Company in 1818. In 1888 the founder’s son, Edward, moved the company to Toledo, Ohio, which became known as “Glass City” and changed the name to Libbey Glass Co. in 1892.

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6. King Arthur flour
> Birth year: 1790

King Arthur Baking Co., known for its flours and baking mixes, was founded in 1790. Today, King Arthur is employee-owned and has a bake shop and baking school in Norwich, Vermont. The company’s motto is “Our mission is to inspire connections and community by spreading the joy of baking.”

5. Laird & Co. applejack
> Birth year: 1780

Laird & Co. became the first licensed distillery in America in 1780. The product’s origins rest with Alexander Laird, who emigrated to Monmouth County in New Jersey from Scotland at the end of the 17th century, and began distilling a kind of apple brandy called applejack – also known as “Jersey Lightning.” Its fame was such that George Washington requested its recipe, and Laird provided the colonial troops with the beverage.

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4. Baker’s chocolate
> Birth year: 1780

Baker’s Chocolate has 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 Tempo that “not much has changed, except the packaging.” Yet even the packaging has remained remarkably consistent over time. La Belle Chocolatière, the female figure seen on packages of Baker’s, has been there for more than 100 years.

3. Crane stationery
> Birth year: 1770

Crane, a manufacturer of fine stationery, was founded in 1770. When you want to make an impression on someone in a letter, people turn to Crane stationery. Since 1879, Crane & Co. has supplied the United States Treasury with its currency paper. Crane is headquartered in Dalton, Massachusetts.

2. Hartford Courant
> Birth year: 1764

Founded before American independence, The Hartford Courant is the country’s oldest newspaper in continuous publication. On Oct. 29, 1764, New Haven printer Thomas Green began publishing the Hartford Courant – originally known as the Connecticut Courant – out of the Heart and Crown Tavern in Hartford, Connecticut. It is now run by Digital First Media, part of the hedge fund Alden Global Capital.

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1. Caswell-Massey personal care products
> Birth year: 1752

Not too many companies can claim they were founded before the American Revolution, but Caswell-Massey can. The Newport, Rhode Island, company has been making personal care products since 1752. It claims to be the longest continuously operated apothecary brand. Its cologne Number 6 was a favorite of George Washington. Today, the company offers luxury soaps, fragrances, and hair and body care products for men and women.

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