In the tradition of celebrating the best moments of life, there are very few opportunities that, in a manner of speaking, take the cake like celebrating a birthday — especially if it happens to be your 107th birthday. Coincidentally for us, today is that very special occasion. My, how those years have flown by!
Who would have thought 107 years ago in the wake of the devastation of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake that one real estate agent and San Francisco native, Colbert Coldwell, would end up forming the oldest and most nationally recognized real estate companies in the United States? Certainly not Coldwell. Among all the devastation and chaos that befell San Francisco and a large part of Northern California, worldwide expansion was probably at the bottom of Coldwell’s agenda. However, 107 years later Coldwell Banker has touched more lives, in more places, than any year before! Proving that while history is all around us and it is being made by people, like you and me, everyday. We want to celebrate today by bringing you an exclusive look at 5 brand name companies with California origins that are younger than Coldwell Banker!
87 Years Old – The Walt Disney Company
“When you wish upon a star..” those six words are an almost incantation of sorts that brings grown men and women back to distant memories of laughter and joy. No childhood today would be complete without the magical touch that only the world of the Walt Disney Company could give. While Disney’s world of animation first started in Kansas City, Missouri, it wasn’t until 1923 where Walt moved to Hollywood to join his brother Roy and form the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio. Three years later with the completion of the Disney studio on Hyperion Street, the Disney Brothers Studio changed its name to the Walt Disney Studio. The rest, as its said, is history. Disney brought a whole new level of magic to the world, and California, with the establishment of the Disneyland Resort Park in Anaheim, California. Playing home to real life manifestations of Walt’s original creations, plus some newer additions that have come over the years, Disneyland entertains the young and old alike while providing a wonderful escape from reality to people from around the world.
73 Years Old – McDonald’s
Hamburgers, hamburgers everywhere. Specifically, around 50 million hamburgers sold in 119 countries daily. All those burgers can trickle down to one moment in 1940 when brothers Richard and Maurice McDonald opened shop in San Bernardino, CA. Now those golden arches are the universal sign for an American hamburger, and if you are in the United States the furthest you will ever be from a McDonalds is 107 miles (the planes of northwestern South Dakota). While their menu now includes everything from fish to fruit, McDonald’s originally served only hamburgers, cheeseburgers, french fries, shakes, soft drinks, and apple pie. Regardless if you are a diehard Californian In-n-Out supporter or a consumer of all things fast food, the hamburger industry would not be the same if McDonald’s had never asked us if “we want fries with that?”
37 Years Old – Apple Computer
How many of us have started projects in a garage only to have it end up in the hands of millions? I would suspect not many. Well for two Bay Area natives, their garage project became a life-changing worldwide corporation. The Apple I personal computer kit, designed by Wozniak and marketed by Jobs, was originally sold at a price of $666.66 and was only a motherboard; far from what we would consider a personal computer. Still, after almost four decades, Apple has transformed itself from creating personal computers to creating an array of digital computing devices such as the iPhone and iPad. All of which are proudly, and vocally, designed by Apple in California. Apple has been instrumental in the success of Silicon Valley, which now also plays home to such tech giants as Google, Facebook, and hundreds of others. Apple has truly taught us to “think different”.
42 Years Old – Lucasfilm, Ltd.
Paramount, Universal, Fox, WB and the like. While they may have resided in Hollywood, California at one time or another, Lucasfilm, Ltd. holds the torch for California innovation within the film industry. Founded by filmmaker George Lucas in 1971 in San Rafael, CA, Lucasfilm is best known for developing special effects and computer animation for films. The company is also responsible for the cinematic masterpieces, “Star Wars” and “Indiana Jones”. One of Lucasfilm’s subdivisions, Industrial Light & Magic, has been responsible for the visual effects of hundreds of movies from the first Star Wars to this year’s The Great Gatsby. Hollywood aside, movie magic would not be the same without technologies pioneered by the brilliant designers within Lucasfilm.
10 Years Old – Tesla Motors, Inc.
The American automotive industry was sparse and limited to only the upper echelons of society until Henry Ford revolutionized consumer cars in 1914 with his production line methods and the Model T – a vehicle that would cost an assembly line worker only four months of pay. From East to West and many decades later, another innovator by the name of Elon Musk came to California. Musk’s primary goal since college was to commercialize electric vehicles all the way to the masses starting with a premium sports car aimed at early adopters and then moving as rapidly as possible into more mainstream vehicles, including sedans and affordable compacts. From Tesla’s inception, Musk consistently maintained that the long-term strategic goal was to create affordable mass market electric vehicles in order to have a material impact on oil consumption. In 2010, the company launched its initial public offering on NASDAQ and became the first American car maker to go public since Ford Motor Company in 1956. Tesla’s latest vehicle, the Model S sedan, is assembled at the Tesla Factory in Fremont, California and is becoming harder for the traditional automotive companies to ignore. Between being awarded the highest rating for safety by any car ever tested by the NHTSA , and an ever increasingly popular alternative to similarly priced competitors – Tesla is turning the electric car from an alternative transportation method to an extremely attractive, and environmentally friendly, option.
California continues to fuel innovation and creation in many industries and the ripple-effect is undeniable by the existence of these companies. What is your opinion on these five choices? Did we overlook a good contender? Let me know on Twitter, @cb_california!