Where are they now? The 12 members of the original 1896 Dow Jones industrial average

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Flickr

When the Dow Jones industrial average was created in 1896, it had about a dozen stocks.

Apple’s addition to the current list of 30 American conglomerates, in March 2015, shows just how far the index has come – it’s no longer focused only on “industrial” companies.

Apple replaced AT&T, known as American Telephone & Telegraph when it joined the Dow in October 1916.

It took 77 years for the Dow to hit its first 1,000-point milestone. In 2017 alone, it has recorded five of those and is nearly at 25,000.

This index has seen a lot of turnover in its history, and only one of the original 12 members still holds a spot in it.


American Cotton Oil Company

What it did: It formed as a trust after several mill owners in Texas and Arkansas combined syndicates to regulate the price of seeds. It became a corporation in 1889 after the trust was dissolved through a lawsuit.

Where it is now: It evolved into a company that became part of Unilever, the maker of consumer products including Dove soap and Lipton tea. The original company was dropped from the Dow in 1901.

Sources: Scripophily, Wikipedia


American Sugar Company

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Flickr/Tony Hisgett

What it did: It was the largest American company in the sugar-refining business in the early 20th century, with investments in the Caribbean. It was established in 1891 with $50 million in capital.

Where it is now: It has since been acquired by American Sugar Refining Inc., whose products include Domino Sugar. It was dropped from the Dow in 1930.

Source: Wikipedia


American Tobacco Company

source
Wikimedia

What it did: The American Tobacco Company acquired over 200 competitors to become the dominant player in the industry. It was founded in 1890.

Where it is now: The Supreme Court ordered it to dissolve following an antitrust lawsuit. It splintered into many smaller companies and renamed itself Fortune Brands. It was dropped from the Dow in 1985.

Source: Wikipedia


Chicago Gas Company

source
Courtesy of Google Maps

What it did: The company bought various gas and heating companies in Chicago with a capital of $25 million. It was founded in 1887.

Where it is now: It was acquired 10 years later and has evolved into a subsidiary of Integrys Energy Group, a publicly traded company. The original company was dropped from the Dow in 1915 after merging with Peoples Gas.

Sources: Wikipedia, “Chicago Securities” Volume 4


General Electric

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Wikipedia

What it did: It was formed as an electricity company in 1892 in a merger that included a business owned by Thomas Edison, the inventor of the lightbulb.

Where it is now: It grew into a multinational giant with several businesses including power, oil and gas, aviation, and transportation. In April 2015, it began the process of selling most of its GE Capital assets to create a slimmer company.

It has been in and out of the Dow and is still listed.

Source: Wikipedia


Distilling & Cattle Feeding Company

source
Alan Murray-Rust, licensed for reuse

What it did: It made alcohol and was later renamed American Spirits Manufacturing.

Where it is now: It evolved into Millennium Chemicals, a large producer of titanium dioxide, which is used in products including sunscreen and paint. The original company was dropped from the Dow in 1899.

Sources: Wikipedia, “New York Supplement”


Laclede Gas Company

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public-domain-images.com

What it did: It used natural gas to provide home and street lighting.

Where it is now: It was dropped from the Dow in 1899. But it’s still around and rebranded as Spire Energy in 2016 after buying up several businesses. It distributes natural gas to homes in Missouri, Mississippi, and Alabama.

Source: Wikipedia, St. Louis Post-Dispatch


National Lead Company

source
Wikimedia

What it did: It was founded in Philadelphia in 1772 and created Dutch Boy Paint in the early 1900s.

Where it is now: It’s now called NL Industries and is a lead-smelting company based in Houston, Texas. It was dropped from the Dow in 1916.

Source: Wikipedia


North American Company

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Wikimedia

What it did: It owned several public utilities and public rail companies.

Where it is now: It was broken up by the Securities and Exchange Commission in 1946 after Congress passed the Public Utility Holding Company Act of 1935 to increase regulation. It was dropped from the Dow in 1930.

Source: Wikipedia


Tennessee Coal, Iron and Railroad Company

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billjacobus1 via flickr

What it did: It was a steel manufacturer with interests in coal and iron-ore mining, as well as railroad operations. It was formed in 1852 in Tennessee.

Where it is now: It merged with US Steel, its main competitor, in 1907. It was dropped from the Dow in 1907.

Source: Wikipedia


US Leather Company

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Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

What it did: It specialized in making leather and grew to be one of the largest companies in the US around the early 1900s.

Where it is now: It was dropped from the Dow in 1928 and liquidated in 1952.

Source: Wikipedia


United States Rubber Company

source
Wikipedia

What it did: The company manufactured tires including the “Tiger Paw.”

Where it is now: The French tire-maker Michelin acquired it in 1990 after changing its name to Uniroyal and merging with another company. It was dropped from the Dow in 1928.

Source: Wikipedia


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REUTERS/Toby Melville

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