From 24/7 Wall St.: Few things are more tied to a company’s identity than its logo. Who isn’t familiar with Nike’s swoosh or McDonald’s golden arches? A good logo helps consumers recognize brands instantly and distinguishes brands from the competition.
For these reasons some corporate logos have remained — at their core — almost the same for more than a century. Originating in 1876, John Deere is currently the oldest corporate logo used still today by one of America’s largest companies. Several other logos 24/7 Wall St. identified have been around since the second half of the 19th century.
The 10 oldest corporate logos still in use today mostly belong to household name companies. With the exception of Union Pacific, a railroad company, these companies all make successful products for the American consumer. At least partly the result of their logos, consumers have personal histories with products made by Coca-Cola, General Electric and Johnson & Johnson.
Continued success is almost certainly why these companies have kept the same logo for so long. The companies have had no reason to change their logos, other than minor changes. According to Interbrand, Coca-Cola’s brand was worth nearly $77 billion as of 2012, making it the most valuable brand in the world. General Electric was the sixth most valuable, worth more than $43 billion.
The origins of the logos are as different as the companies they represent. In 1896, Prudential began to use the “Rock of Gibraltar” to symbolize that the company’s financial products were as reliable as the rock itself. The image of Sherwin-Williams’ paint “Covering the Earth” reflected the rapid expansion of the brand.
Prudential Logo, Then and Now
Some of the logos had nothing to do with the company’s mission at all. DuPont’s simple oval logo, which included the founder’s name, was used to make stenciling the image on packages easy.
Dupont Logo, Then and Now
Although the logos all retained at least one core visual element, like Goodyear’s winged sandals or Coca-Cola’s white script on red background, parts were modified over time. The Union Pacific shield’s shape and color changed numerous times in the past 126 years. And while the deer in John Deere’s logo once jumped over a log, the log was removed in 1950.
All of the companies on this list are old, but they are not necessarily the oldest companies in the United States. Procter & Gamble and General Mills are among the oldest companies on the Fortune 500, but they do not have logos that made our list. Procter & Gamble in 1985 stopped using the logo it had used since the 1850s. The iconic cursive G in the General Mills logo was only introduced 50 years ago.
Based on a review of Fortune 500 companies, 24/7 Wall St. identified the 10 oldest corporate logos still in use today. In order to be considered, the company must have been in continual operation as an independent company since at least 1900. The logo had to be at least 100 years old and could not have meaningfully changed.
These are the oldest company logos in America, according to 24/7 Wall St.: