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Most Valuable U.S. Companies Over 100 Years

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The Most Valuable Companies in the U.S. Over 100 Years

The Most Valuable Companies in America Over 100 Years

How much does the business world shift in a century?

Today’s visualization comes from HowMuch.net, and it uses Forbes data to show how the list of the top 10 companies in the U.S. has evolved over the last 100 years.

1917: The Industrialist Era

In 1911, both John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil and J.P. Morgan’s U.S. Steel (which was formed from Andrew Carnegie’s steel company and others) were facing antitrust action.

Standard Oil, which controlled over 90% of all oil in the United States by 1900, got split up into 34 independent companies after a ruling by the Supreme Court. However, U.S. Steel, which controlled 67% of steel in the country, was able to weather the antitrust storm at the time.

In the chart showing data for 1917, you can see that U.S. Steel – which was considered the world’s first “billion dollar” company – reigned supreme in the U.S. based on the value of its assets. Meanwhile, Standard Oil of N.J. (a fragment of the Standard Oil breakup) was still able to finish in the third spot on the list.

1967: The Hardware Era

Fast forward 50 years, and oil is still big.

Standard Oil of N.J. (eventually to be re-named as Exxon Corp. in 1972) is the fifth biggest company in the country. Texaco and Gulf Oil, both of which later merged into Chevron (another Standard Oil offshoot) also make the top 10 in terms of market valuation.

Aside from energy, the 1967 list seems dominated by companies that make tangible things. IBM was making some of the first and most advanced computers, GM was the largest U.S. auto manufacturer, and both Kodak and Polaroid made cameras. General Electric, a conglomerate, made everything from computers to jet engines at this time.

2017: The Platform Era

Fast forward to now, and platforms like Facebook, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Apple have taken over.

We’ve shown how these five companies make their billions, and also how Facebook and Google are able to dominate global ad revenues through scale.

Meanwhile, many of the stalwarts from 1967 have fallen: Polaroid and Kodak both filed for bankruptcy, and Sears Canada filed for bankruptcy months ago. And of the big names from 1917, only AT&T remains of significance.

This raises the question: what will the next 50 years hold – and how many names from the 2017 list will remain?

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Visualizing AI Patents by Country

See which countries have been granted the most AI patents each year, from 2012 to 2022.

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Visualizing AI Patents by Country

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

This infographic shows the number of AI-related patents granted each year from 2010 to 2022 (latest data available). These figures come from the Center for Security and Emerging Technology (CSET), accessed via Stanford University’s 2024 AI Index Report.

From this data, we can see that China first overtook the U.S. in 2013. Since then, the country has seen enormous growth in the number of AI patents granted each year.

YearChinaEU and UKU.S.RoWGlobal Total
20103071379845711,999
20115161299805812,206
20129261129506602,648
20131,035919706272,723
20141,278971,0786673,120
20151,7211101,1355393,505
20161,6211281,2987143,761
20172,4281441,4891,0755,136
20184,7411551,6741,5748,144
20199,5303223,2112,72015,783
202013,0714065,4414,45523,373
202121,9076238,2197,51938,268
202235,3151,17312,07713,69962,264

In 2022, China was granted more patents than every other country combined.

While this suggests that the country is very active in researching the field of artificial intelligence, it doesn’t necessarily mean that China is the farthest in terms of capability.

Key Facts About AI Patents

According to CSET, AI patents relate to mathematical relationships and algorithms, which are considered abstract ideas under patent law. They can also have different meaning, depending on where they are filed.

In the U.S., AI patenting is concentrated amongst large companies including IBM, Microsoft, and Google. On the other hand, AI patenting in China is more distributed across government organizations, universities, and tech firms (e.g. Tencent).

In terms of focus area, China’s patents are typically related to computer vision, a field of AI that enables computers and systems to interpret visual data and inputs. Meanwhile America’s efforts are more evenly distributed across research fields.

Learn More About AI From Visual Capitalist

If you want to see more data visualizations on artificial intelligence, check out this graphic that shows which job departments will be impacted by AI the most.

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Voronoi, the app by Visual Capitalist. Where data tells the story. Download on App Store or Google Play

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