Top 10 Oldest Companies
King Arthur Flour Company
, Founded in 1790Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & MosleMcGuireWoods, Founded in 1834 McCarter & English, Founded in 1844 Davis Polk, Founded in 1849 Drinker Biddle, Founded in 1849 Miller-Canfield, Founded in 1852 Winston & Strawn, Founded in 1853 AFCO, Founded in 1855 Baker & Daniels, Founded in 1863
2010 Revenue: $81.1 million
The oldest company on this year’s list, King Arthur Flour Company started as a flour import business before introducing its own product in 1896. Run for five generations by the Sands family, the now 100 percent employee-owned company manufactures flours of all kinds, gluten-free mixes and more in a township that houses three company headquarters: “Camelot,” “Avalon,” and “Excalibur.”
In this company photograph from 1896, company owners Mark Taylor, Orin Sands, and George Wood stand beside a sign heralding their new additive-free flour.
2010 Revenue: $140 million
This 180-year-old law firm began as Graham & Graham, a typical Wall Street law firm that dealt in real estate. It became one of the first truly international law firms in the country when the firm began representing bond proceedings in Latin America. With 80 percent of the firms’ practices located outside of the United States. Currently, the firm is serving counsel on Lehman Brothers’ bankruptcy proceedings.
This company photograph shows a 1920 firm dinner at New York's famed Delmonico's. It might have been a quiet affair - the 18th Amendment had gone into effect a year before.
2010 Revenue: $532 million
McGuireWoods, a law firm that boasts 19 offices worldwide, has grown substantially throughout the centuries through firm mergers and client-facilitated expansions. The firm maintained offices across the state of Virginia for 150 years before venturing to Washington, D.C. Now, the firm reaches as far as Belgium, specializing in varying areas, including Intellectual Property and Class Action Litigation.
This photograph is of the company's oldest continually occupied office building, located at 491 Jefferson Street in Charlottesville.
Newark, New Jersey
2010 Revenue: $216 million
This northeast regional law firm began in Newton, New Jersey, but relocated to Newark 147 years ago. The firm has provided counsel for famous inventor Thomas Edison and gunslinger Annie Oakley, with a McCarter on the roster until the 1990s. Now, the firm has 400 lawyers in offices all over the northeast, specializing in intellectual property and corporate litigation, among others.
Photographed from left to right are company founders Conover English and Thomas McCarter.
2010 Revenue: $870 million
Francis N. Bangs, a 21-year-old lawyer, opened his one-man firm on lower Broadway in Manhattan in the 19th century. Since then, the lawyers affiliated with Davis Polk’s rich history were involved in trials concerning William M. “Boss” Tweed, JP Morgan, and Hollywood film studios among others. Now the firm, which has 750 lawyers in nine locations around the world, is lead counsel for CitiGroup’s financial crisis-related matters.
Photographed at left is name partner John W. Davis, who ran and lost as the Democratic Party nominee against Republican Calvin Coolidge in 1924.
2010 Revenue: $376 million
Since its establishment in Philadelphia by John Christian Bullitt, this law firm has steadily grown in the last 160 years. The firm provided counsel for many Philadelphia businesses, including UPenn and even some of the 30 alleged communist schoolteachers during the McCarthy era. Now, Drinker Biddle is one of the 70 largest firms in the nation, counseling in many areas including labor law and discrimination litigation.
Photographed from left to right are firm founder John Christian Bullitt and Henry S. Drinker. Drinker, a long-serving member of the firm, aided the beleaguered von Trapp family when they ran aground of visa troubles on Ellis Island in 1939.
2010 Revenue: $146 million
Though this law firm was founded in the middle of the 19th century, it began to grow rapidly under Sidney T. Miller fifty years later. When his own son died of pleurisy, Miller left the firm to Cleveland Thurber, whose leadership fostered more growth. Now, Miller-Canfield contains a network of 450 lawyers that represent individuals, businesses, and nonprofits for advice and litigation among other services.
Photographed at left is firm founder Sidney Davy Miller, standing to the right of the pillar.
2010 Revenue: $717 million
This Chicago-based firm emerged as founder Frederick H. Winston provided counsel for several railroad companies in the 19th century. The company has defended breweries during prohibition, department store Montgomery Wards during World War II, and the Atlanta Braves during their departure from Milwaukee. Now, the 1,000-attorney international firm manages cases against companies both in the public and private sectors.
Photographed at left is founding partner Frederick H. Winston.
2010 Revenue: $38.7 million
Englishman Alexander Cuthill Fergusson’s company began in importing before selling domestic chemical products to the paper, soap, textile, and leather industries. The company also aided in the production of blueprints for the U.S. during WWI by synthesizing a chemical that was in shortage. Now, the “jack-of-all-trades” business provides educational programs, evaluations, and products for the food and beverage, pharmaceutical, and industrial industries, among others.
Photographed at left is the company's hometown of Chambersberg, Pennsylvania in a postcard from the last decades of the 19th century.
2010 Revenue: $152 million
The founder of this law firm, Thomas A. Hendricks, is perhaps better known for serving as Vice President for President Grover Cleveland’s second nonconsecutive term. With a historical roster that includes a governor, a mayor, and the first female African American State Attorney General, the firm now boasts 370 lawyers across the U.S. and in China and offers both consulting and litigation in a variety of fields.
Photographed at left is company founder Thomas A. Hendricks.