Can you guess the company these real 'Jeopardy!' clues are about?

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September 8, 2020
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Can you guess the company these real 'Jeopardy!' clues are about?

To have been in business in America for 100 years or more is a huge deal; but in the grand scheme of things, a century's worth of history is nothing. For example, Japan's Keiunkan Inn has existed since 705 A.D. For 1,300 years—300 years before Vikings came to America—52 generations of Fujiwara Mahito descendants have been running the vacation lodgings. And again, the world's oldest restaurant, St. Peter's Stiftskeller, was first mentioned in a document by Charlemagne follower and scholar, Alcuin, in 803 A.D., and has been serving patrons for the 1,200 years since.

America's oldest company, meanwhile, has just two century marks under its belt. Perfume and soap company Caswell-Massey was started in 1752 by William Hunter in Newport, Rhode Island. While it's now owned by a private investment group, Caswell-Massey originally served the wealthy and distinguished clientele in nearby cottages, supplying their medicinal and personal care needs. The company was so wildly popular that explorers Lewis and Clark took Caswell-Massey products with them on their cross-country expedition.

Many of the companies serving consumers today around the world are relatively new. Some of them, like 15-year-old YouTube, aren't even of legal drinking age. So today, Stacker has set out to test your knowledge of companies and their histories. Using the J! Archive, which was last updated in 2020, Stacker has chosen a host of questions about businesses from all over the globe. From rental car companies to wholesale warehouses and tech giants, can you guess these 25 companies?

Read on to test your knowledge.

Clue #1

- Clue: This company's first product was wood picture frames; doll furniture made from wood scraps changed its emphasis to toys.
- Category: Businesses
- Value: $400
- Date episode aired: Jan. 25, 2017

Answer #1: What is Mattel?

Founded in 1945 by Harold "Matt" Matson and Ruth and Elliot Handler, Mattel's first toy was a hit, the Uke-A-Doodle, in 1947. The company's iconic Barbie doll, created by Ruth, hit store shelves in 1959.

Clue #2

- Clue: In 1915 Thomas Lyle Williams began selling mascara under this brand name that honored his sister.
- Category: Businesses
- Value: $3000 (Daily Double)
- Date episode aired: Jan. 25, 2017

Answer #2: What is Maybelline?

In 1913, Chicago chemist Thomas Williams added carbon dust to the petroleum jelly his sister was using to enhance her eyelashes and eyebrows. Two years later, Williams' product Maybelline Cake Mascara, named after his sister Maybel Williams, was available via mail order.

Clue #3

- Clue: With businesses hurting, not as many people bought office supplies from this company, stock symbol SPLS.
- Category: American IDLE 2009
- Value: $200
- Date episode aired: Nov. 11, 2009

Answer #3: What is Staples?

After his typewriter ribbon broke over the Fourth of July holiday weekend in 1985, Tom Stemberg, a former supermarket chain executive, couldn't get his hands on a new one as all local supplier stores were closed to celebrate. He realized then that people needed a supermarket for office products, and 10 months later Staples was born.

Clue #4

- Clue: Kenneth Lay of this company admitted, "In hindsight, we made some very bad investments in noncore businesses."
- Category: Modern-day Quotes
- Value: $1000
- Date episode aired: Sept. 8, 2003

Answer #4: What is Enron?

The Enron scandal, news of which broke in October 2001, remains one of the most infamous in American business history. After the accounting fraud scheme was revealed, losses were estimated at $74 billion.

Clue #5

- Clue: In 2000 this company was ordered to split Windows and Internet Explorer into two companies but appealed successfully.
- Category: Breaking Up Is Hard to Do
- Value: $1200
- Date episode aired: July 11, 2019

Answer #5: What is Microsoft?

On April 4, 1975, Bill Gates and Paul Allen unveiled their new software company, Microsoft. The company's name is a portmanteau of "microcomputer" and "software."

Clue #6

- Clue: Let's see...I need some gas, a patio set and 27 boxes of cereal at this retailer whose roots trace back to 1976.
- Category: NASDAQ Companies
- Value: $1200
- Date episode aired: Feb. 13, 2018

Answer #6: What is Costco?

Originally called Price Club, the first Costco opened in a converted airplane hangar in 1976. While the company originally sold to small businesses, they quickly discovered there was a lot more profit to be made selling to select non-business members. In 1983 they opened the first warehouse under the Costco name, selling to the general public.

Clue #7

- Clue: On Jan. 1, this telephone giant was broken up into seven smaller regional companies.
- Category: 1984
- Value: $200
- Date episode aired: Oct. 30, 2014

Answer #7: What is AT&T?

Alexander Graham Bell's 1876 invention of the telephone was the foundation for the company that would become AT&T. In 1984, the communications giant divested its local operations but managed to retain its long-distance, R&D, and manufacturing sectors.

Clue #8

- Clue: Failing to live up to its name, this largest video rental chain filed for bankruptcy in 2010.
- Category: Texas-based Companies
- Value: $600
- Date episode aired: June 22, 2012

Answer #8: What is Blockbuster?

In 1985 the first Blockbuster store opened in Dallas, Texas. By 2004, the retailer was worth $5 billion and had 9,000 stores worldwide; 10 years later, only 300 stores remained as streaming services like Netflix took over the market.

Clue #9

- Clue: This short-lived enterprise employed Buffalo Bill Cody and ceased at the completion of the U.S. telegraph system.
- Category: Animal Companies
- Value: $200
- Date episode aired: April 14, 2011

Answer #9: What is the Pony Express?

The Pony Express only operated for 18 months, between April 1860 and October 1861, but it still remains closely associated with the Wild West. The first Pony Express delivery from St. Joseph, Missouri, to Sacramento, California, saw mail traveling over 1,800 miles in 10 days.

Clue #10

- Clue: During WWI the U.S. government confiscated the assets of this German aspirin company and sold off the name.
- Category: Companies Named After People
- Value: $400
- Date episode aired: Oct. 18, 2010

Answer #10: What is Bayer?

Way back in 1863, the partnership "Friedr. Bayer et comp." was founded in Germany to manufacture and sell synthetic dyestuffs. In 1899, with the establishment of a major scientific research laboratory, the company began working in pharmaceuticals and eventually developed Aspirin, which remains Bayer's registered trademark in more than 80 countries.

Clue #11

- Clue: In Virginia, look to the heavens and you just might come up with the name of this confectionery that's tops.
- Category: Forbes States' Richest Companies
- Value: $1600
- Date episode aired: Feb. 2, 2011

Answer #11: What is Mars?

In 1911, Frank C. Mars, who had been taught by his mother how to dip candy, opened Mars Candy Factory in Tacoma, Washington, with his second wife, Ethel V. Mars. Now, one of the largest food companies in the world, Mars Incorporated operates six business segments: chocolate, pet care, food, Wrigley, drinks, and Symbioscience.

Clue #12

- Clue: In 2007 this St. Louis-based car rental company said, "we'll pick you up" to ex-competitors Alamo and National.
- Category: Missouri Loves Companies
- Value: $200
- Date episode aired: Oct. 5, 2012

Answer #12: What is Enterprise?

In 1957, decorated WWII Hellcat pilot Jack Taylor started his own car rental business with a fleet of seven cars. Today, Enterprise has more than 7,600 locations in over 85 countries.

Clue #13

- Clue: In 1917 the son of an Illinois bookseller joined with a New York store and started this company.
- Category: Companies Named After People
- Value: $2000
- Date episode aired: Oct. 18, 2010

Answer #13: What is Barnes & Noble?

In 1873, Charles Montgomery Barnes opened a bookstore in Wheaton, Illinois. In 1902 his son, William, took over then moved to New York City in 1917 to partner with Gilbert Clifford Noble. In 1932 their flagship Fifth Avenue store opened, which was eventually purchased in 1971 for $1.2 million.

Clue #14

- Clue: Flywire and Lunalite are innovations from the "labs" of this company named for a goddess of victory.
- Category: Deus Ex Machina
- Value: $1200
- Date episode aired: July 24, 2009

Answer #14: What is Nike?

Founded in 1964 as Blue Ribbon Sports, an Asics distributor, Nike didn't become Nike Inc. until 1971. Created by Bill Bowerman and Phil Knight, the concept for the company's trademark "waffle-bottom" shoes came as Bowerman and his wife were making breakfast. In 1974, the "Nike Waffle Trainer" was patented.

Clue #15

- Clue: Still around today, this power company was one of the first 12 companies included in the DJIA in 1896.
- Category: The Electric Company
- Value: $600 (daily double)
- Date episode aired: April 2, 2008

Answer #15: What is General Electric?

In 1876 Thomas Edison opened a laboratory in Menlo Park, New Jersey. Fourteen years later, he established the Edison General Electric Company, which brought all of his various businesses and laboratories together under a single name. Then, in 1892, Edison's company merged with the Thomas-Houston Company and the resulting General Electric Company has been an industry force ever since.

Clue #16

- Clue: The first name of this company's search engine was Backrub, as it analyzed the backlinks pointing to websites.
- Category: Companies Younger Than You
- Value: $800
- Date episode aired: July 24, 2007

Answer #16: What is Google?

In 1995, two Stanford University students, Larry Page and Sergey Brin began working on the technology that would become Google in their respective dorm rooms. As of 2019, Google users perform over 3.5 billion searches daily using the world's leading search engine.

Clue #17

- Clue: This commerce site founded in 1995 now also owns Skype, PayPal, and
- Category: Companies Younger Than You
- Value: $400
- Date episode aired: July 24, 2007

Answer #17: What is eBay?

Labor Day Weekend 1995 saw eBay founder Pierre Omidyar launch AuctionWeb, a site "dedicated to bringing together buyers and sellers in an honest and open marketplace," according to the company's history. In September 1997, after selling their millionth item, that website was officially renamed eBay.

Clue #18

- Clue: Ivory soap was the first branded product of this Ohio-based company.
- Category: Companies
- Value: $600
- Date episode aired: April 2, 2015

Answer #18: What is Procter & Gamble?

After English candle-maker William Procter and Irish soap-maker James Gamble married a set of sisters, their father-in-law convinced them to go into business together. On Oct. 31, 1837, the two men signed a partnership agreement, and Procter & Gamble was born. The company's initial assets? $7,192.24.

Clue #19

- Clue: This energy drink company now offers a cola and "Energy Shots."
- Category: Animal Companies
- Value: $800
- Date episode aired: April 14, 2011

Answer #19: What is Red Bull?

During a visit to Thailand in 1984, Dietrich Mateschitz, an Austrian marketer, ran across a local energy drink, Krating Daeng, and offered to set up a company in Austria to sell the drink. He carbonated the beverage, changed its name to Red Bull, and the rest is history.

Clue #20

- Clue: This large retailer of imported furnishings and gifts began as a single store in the San Francisco Bay area.
- Category: Texas-based Companies
- Value: $1000 (daily double)
- Date episode aired: June 22, 2012

Answer #20: What is Pier 1?

In 1962, post-WWII baby boomers flooded the first Pier 1 Imports store looking for "beanbag chairs, love beads, and incense," according to the company's history. In 1966, the company established its headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas. 

Clue #21

- Clue: After a bitter feud, the Dassler Bros. formed rival sneaker companies; Rudolf founded Puma and Adolf this one.
- Category: Feuds
- Value: $600
- Date episode aired: March 27, 2014

Answer #21: What is Adidas?

While Adolf Dassler loaned his name to his sneaker company, Adidas, few shoe connoisseurs know about his secret past as a member of the Nazi Party. Adolf, and his brother Rudolf, both supplied shoes to the Hitler Youth Movement and to German athletes at the pre-WWII 1936 Olympics in Berlin.

Clue #22

- Clue: This company's corporate address is 1 Infinite Loop, Cupertino, California.
- Category: Companies
- Value: $400
- Date episode aired: April 2, 2015

Answer #22: What is Apple?

College dropouts Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak started Apple on April 1, 1976, intending to change the way people viewed computers. Their Apple II computer, which introduced color graphics, revolutionized the industry, boosting the company's sales to $117 million a mere four years after it was founded.

Clue #23

- Clue: This website's stated purpose is "to connect people with great local businesses."
- Category: "Y"s Up
- Value: $800
- Date episode aired: Dec. 2, 2016

Answer #23: What is Yelp?

Founded in 2004, Yelp saw an average of 36 million unique visitors each month during the fourth quarter of 2019. In the years the company has existed, users have written more than 205 million reviews for businesses.

Clue #24

- Clue: A share of stock in this company, then just a bookseller, cost about $1.50 in June 1997; 20 years later? Over $1,100!
- Category: NASDAQ Companies
- Value: $400
- Date episode aired: Feb. 13, 2018

Answer #24: What is Amazon?

Jeff Bezos began Amazon out of a Seattle-area garage on July 5, 1995. Although the company was a near-instant success, it wasn't until 1998 that they began expanding their offerings, morphing into the giant everything-retailer we know them to be today.

Clue #25

- Clue: One of the first companies in Ireland to provide pensions, it also gave workers a daily two-pint beer allowance.
- Category: I Learned It From Mental Floss
- Value: $800
- Date episode aired: Sept. 12, 2018

Answer #25: What is Guinness?

In 1752, after inheriting £100 from his godfather, Arthur Guinness started his own brewery in Leixlip, County Kildare, Ireland. Seven years later, in 1759, he signed a 9,000-year lease on a small property in Dublin and shortly thereafter began importing his signature ale all over the world.

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