Iconic American companies started the year you were born
America has long been the home of innovative and entrepreneurial companies that push the vanguard for success. Many American companies are known as symbols of America themselves. Each year, cultural shifts, consumer demand, and various trends across tech, style, food, and consumerism spawn companies seeking to change the way we do things.
To find out more about some of the most popular and iconic American companies created in the last 90 years, we've inspected iconic companies created each year since 1930. In that, we've explored how they've changed since their inception, and what has contributed to their lasting power and their success.
The first major category of companies we looked at were food, beverage, and grocery-related companies. From grocery stores like Publix to fast-casual restaurants such as Panera Bread. Food is a very innovative sector because there are so many options. American food businesses have been innovative in creating new ways to buy groceries, cook food, and eat healthily. Many of these popular companies we celebrate now got their start within the past 90 years.
The next major category of companies we looked at were technological companies. Companies such as Microsoft and Google are businesses that are extremely well known and iconic across America. Tech companies have innovated not only the way the general public lives their daily lives but also how businesses can communicate with each other.
The last major category of companies we looked at were entertainment companies. From Marvel Comics to Netflix, The way content is created and the way we watch entertainment has changed rapidly in large part to new companies who have pushed for advancements in the last 90 years.
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Publix was founded in 1930 by George W. Jenkins. The first store existed in Winter Haven, Fla., Publix has had a long-lasting impact as one of the most well-known and well-regarded grocery chains—particularly in southeastern Maryland. Publix has over 1,200 store locations and its 2018 retail sales reached $36.1 billion. Publix has been voted “The South's Best Grocery Store” and as Fortune's “Best Big Company to Work for.”
1931: Allstate Insurance
Allstate insurance was founded in 1931 by Carl Odell in Illinois as a part of Sears. Allstate has since grown to become one of the largest insurance providers in the country. Allstate is also popular for its commercials featuring its tagline “Are You in Good Hands?”
1932: Advance Auto Parts
Advance Auto Parts was founded in 1932 by George Taubman with two locations in Roanoke and Lynchburg, Va. Advance Auto Parts is one of the most successful automotive aftermarket parts providers in the country. There are 5,200 Advance Auto Parts retailers across the country and in 2018 this company had $9.6 billion in sales. Advance Auto Parts is one of the most ubiquitous car-part retailers across the country.
1933: Warner Brothers Cartoons
Warner Brothers Cartoons was founded originally as Leon Schlesinger Productions in 1933 by Leon Schlesinger. This animation company is most notable to Americans for creating the ultra-popular Looney Tunes cartoons that have been cherished for decades.
1934: DC Comics
DC Comics was founded by Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson at National Allied Publications in 1934 in California. DC Comics is a very successful American entertainment company that has created beloved comic book and superhero characters such as Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman.
1935: 20th Century Fox
20th Century Fox was founded by William Fox, Joseph M. Schenck, and Darryl F. Zanuck in 1935 in Los Angeles. 20th Century Fox is one of the largest American movie companies, notable for producing beloved films such as “Avatar,” “Titanic,” and “Star Wars.”
GEICO was founded in 1936 by Leo and Lillian Goodwin in Washington D.C. GEICO is one of the largest auto insurers in America. GEICO is also notable for its creative commercials featuring its various mascots and taglines that are well known to Americans.
1937: Continental Airlines
Continental Airlines began flying in 1937 after being founded by Robert Six. Before its merger with United Airlines, Continental Airlines was one of the largest and most profitable airlines in America that also inspired the groundwork for subsequent airlines to follow.
1938: Kaplan, Inc.
Kaplan, Inc. was founded by Stanley Kaplan in 1938 in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. Kaplan is well known for being one of the nation's largest and most popular test-prep companies. Many Americans preparing for entrance from college up to post-graduate training use their services to prepare them for standardized testing and entrance exams. In 2018, its revenue was $1.5 billion.
We often think of most computer and technology companies as being late 20th century innovations, but companies such as Hewlett-Packard have been innovating since much earlier. HP was founded in 1939 by Bill Hewlett and David Packard in Palo Alto, Calif. in a rented garage. HP is one of the most foremost American computer manufacturers. It also has had a lasting impact on American culture for other reasons such as its female CEO Meg Whitman.2018 All rights reserved.