Articles & Newsletters

Who Makes Our Balls?

Who Makes Our Balls?

In these troubling times, it’s important to remember something called “fun.” Our weekly newsletters tend to cover big industries like retailing and automobiles.  But we also find smaller, niche industries fascinating. Here is a look at who makes the balls used by...

read more
And the Answers Are….

And the Answers Are….

Last Friday we sent you a link to a business history crossword puzzle, which many of you visited. We promised the answers today, so here they are. If for any reason you missed the puzzle, you can still take it here and fill it out right in your browser. Or look at the...

read more
Stuck at Home?

Stuck at Home?

Like everyone else, we at the American Business History Center have no sports to watch, fewer restaurants to patronize, and even a shortage of exciting primary elections to follow.  So what better time to entertain and educate ourselves through reading and...

read more
A Century of Big Brands

A Century of Big Brands

We all grow up surrounded by brands.  Being part of our daily lives, they often seem as if they have been around forever and will be around forever.  Yet, like most everything else, brands have lifecycles.  Only the lucky few survive for decade after...

read more
Same Town, Same Family: The Smucker Saga

Same Town, Same Family: The Smucker Saga

In 1752, Amish/Mennonite farmer Christian Schmucker migrated from Switzerland to Pennsylvania.  In 2016, his son’s son’s son’s son’s son’s son’s son’s son’s son, forty-six-year-old Mark Smucker, became Chief Executive of the J. M. Smucker Company of Orrville, Ohio. ...

read more

New Beginnings in the Roaring Twenties

Here we go again – another decade of the “twenties” – hopefully these twenties roar in the good sense.  This is a perfect time to look back at what was going on in business history one hundred years ago. 1920 was an important year in business history. ...

read more
A Great New Book About the Future

A Great New Book About the Future

As you know, I love books and live in a personal library of more than 57,000 of them.  Only a few – say 2-300 of them – really capture my excitement and enthusiasm.  Fewer, Richer, Greener by Larry Siegel is one of those books.  It just...

read more
The Data-Driven Visionary

The Data-Driven Visionary

In 1941, Fred Lazarus, Jr., had some time to kill in Houston.  He had come to visit his son Ralph who was serving in the Army at nearby Ellington Field.   Twelve years earlier, Lazarus and his family had united their family-owned Lazarus department...

read more
Understanding How Tech Companies Work

Understanding How Tech Companies Work

Tech companies from Apple to Dell, from Adobe to Oracle, work each day to outsmart their competitors, to develop innovative products and services, and to best market and sell their products and services. No technology company in history has been more successful in...

read more

Which Cities Are Americans Fleeing?

Click here to see the detailed chart or watch it here on youtube. Two weeks ago, we presented an animated chart showing the most popular American cities – the metropolitan areas which received the most domestic migrants in each year from 2010 through 2018.  This week,...

read more
Whatever Became of International Harvester?

Whatever Became of International Harvester?

With this newsletter, we begin a periodic series, “Whatever Became of?”  As students of business history, we learn much from both success and failure.  About 80% of the largest companies of America in the mid-twentieth century are no longer with us.  Some of these...

read more

American Boomtowns and Slowdowns

Dear Friends of History, Here at the American Business History Center, we usually focus on the long-term view, going back decades. But today, for a change of pace, we take a look at very recent history….the 2010’s. Here is one of our “bar race charts” created using...

read more

24 years of Big Company Change

The rise, fall, and disappearance of America’s largest companies tells us much about business and our economy. Since 1955, Fortune magazine has published a list of the 500 largest U.S. companies, ranked by sales (revenues). Until 1995, this list only included...

read more
The Business History of Woodstock

The Business History of Woodstock

Too often, when we see great entertainment or a great event, we forget that someone had to dream it up, organize it, and finance it.  Fifty years ago this month, from August 15 through 18, 1969, the most famous music festival of all time took place in Bethel, New...

read more

We Want Your Stories!

Dear friends of business history,We need your stories and anecdotes about business to enhance our telling of history.  What companies have you worked for?  What was it like?  Did you work on any innovations or observe changes in the company or industry?...

read more

The Rise and Fall of American Cities

History lovers, Today we present something a little different….an animated chart showing the rise and fall of American cities.  If you play (or replay) the graphic linked here, you will see the rise and fall of the thirty most populous metropolitan areas in the...

read more

Support Us

Your donations help us show the importance of learning from the past.

You can also support the American Business History Center through the Amazon Smile program, which will give us 0.5% of the value of your purchases on Amazon without costing you anything additional.

Click to support us.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Sign up for business history stories and news from the American Business History Center.

You have Successfully Subscribed!