Oldest Company in the World

10 Oldest Companies in the World

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Interestingly, the majority of the oldest companies are located in Japan. Since Japan is a rather old country with a long-running economy, this isn’t that surprising. However, there are many other companies around the world that have been running for over 1000 years. If you think about it, 1000 years ago is very impressive. This means that the newest company on this list was around before the first crusade was waged.

Of course, each of the companies listed below has stood the test of time throughout various natural disasters, wars, and miscellaneous periods of destruction. When you consider the fact that countries can come and go, empires fall into the hands of invaders, and so on, this is impressive. As we can see below, sometimes businesses can last through periods of occupation, or where foreign countries take over a nation.

10. Marinelli Bell Foundry

Age:  978 years
Year Founded: 1040 CE
Country: Italy
Industry: Foundry

Marinelli_Bell_Foundry
A  foundry is a corporation which produces cast metals. Although this is a relatively new trade in the span of human history, this foundry has been running for nearly 1000 years. In fact, many of the bells that you will see in antique churches around Italy were likely created by this company.

Since this company is so old, it can be accessed today by tourists who want a museum-like experience.

Interesting Facts: 

  • The longest-running and oldest known foundry in existence.
  • Tourists today can purchase their own miniature bell for about $50
  • Has been using the same technique for metal casting since its founding
  • Has created many of the bells that can be seen on historic churches in Italy today.

9. Shumiya Shinbutsuguten 

Age:  994 years
Year Founded: 1024 CE
Country: Japan
Industry: Religious Goods

Shumiya-Shinbutsuguten

image credit: soranews24

The first country on our list has been producing products for Buddhist monks and practitioners for close to 1000 years. Considering that the Buddhist leading figure, Siddartha Gautama lived sometimes during the period within 600 – 500 BCE, that means that the time that this store has been around is nearly as close to the time of Buddha than to today.

Anybody looking for Buddhist shrines, decorations, or other similar religious products can still come and shop in this store and purchase similar products as monks would have nearly 1000 years ago.

Interesting Facts: 

  • Have been building clothing for monks for nearly 1000 years.
  • Create Buddhist altars, shrines, and other religious home decorations
  • Was founded nearly as close to the time of Siddartha Gautama (Buddha) than to today.

8. Chateau de Goulaine 

Age:  1,018 years
Year Founded: ~1000 CE 
Country: France
Industry: Winery

Chateau_de_Goulaine

image credit: Wiki

Although it is a little unclear how long this former castle has been operating as a winery, the foundations of the castle surrounding the winery dates back to the 15th century. The property, however, has been producing wine for over 1000 years by the same family.

Since the property has recently been listed for sale, it might soon stop producing wine. It will regardless remain as one of the oldest wineries in history, and one of the longest family-run businesses in human history.

Interesting Facts: 

  • Recently listed for sale on the real estate market.
  • This hasn’t happened for over 1000 years.
  • Has been producing wine for so long that nobody knows the exact date this business started.
  • The property once hosted Henry IV and Louis XIV as guests to the owning family.
  • One of the oldest family-run businesses in human history.

7. Nakamura Shaji 

Age: 1,048 years
Year Founded: 970 CE
Country: Japan 
Industry: Construction 

Nakamura_Shaji

image credit: nakamurasyaji

Even though this construction company has been operating continuously for over 1000 years, it isn’t even the oldest construction company in human history. In fact, it is second to another company that is located within the same country.

However, since the oldest construction company (and oldest corporation in human history) recently went out of business, this business now takes the lead in the construction industry.

Interesting Facts: 

  • Only the second oldest Japanese construction company.
  • The oldest active construction company in the world.
  • Specializes in wood working.
  • Has made many classic Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines.

6. Royal Mint 

Age: 1,132 years
Year Founded: 886 CE
Country: UK 
Industry: Mint 

royal-mint

image credit: Wiki

This is a government-controlled corporation that has been producing money and employing British people for over 1000 years. The main function of a mint is to produce coins that can be used as the country’s currency.

Today, you can visit the site as a museum and see a brief history of how the British pound has evolved throughout the years. Or, take a glance at how they produce coins today. However, they won’t show you exactly how they make their money.

Interesting Facts: 

  • One of the oldest active government-operated corporations in human history.
  • Has operated under several different headquarters during its 1000 year history.
  • Currently produces around 5 billion coins a year.
  • Also produced medals to be worn as rewards for officials.

5. Tanaka Iga (田中伊雅仏具店) 

Age: 1,133 years
Year Founded: 885 CE 
Country: Japan
Industry: Religious Goods 

Tanaka-Iga

image credit: tanakaiga

ly when you hear of a religious goods store, you might think of a chain like Mardel, which is a chain store which hasn’t really been around that long. However, the Tanaka Iga is so old that the religion which it sells goods for (Buddhism) was founded closer to the this store’s opening than today’s date.

What is perhaps most interesting is that many of the goods sold by this store are made on site.

Interesting Facts: 

  • The oldest known merchant of Buddhist goods.
  • Likely the oldest store in the world that doesn’t sell food or drinks.
  • Manufactures most of the goods that are sold there.
  • Was founded nearly as close to the time of Siddartha Gautama (Buddha) than to today.

4. Monnaie de Paris 

Age: 1,154 years 
Year Founded: 864 CE  
Country: France
Industry: Mint

Monnaie_de_Paris

image credit: PHGCOM

Long before the European Union started producing Euros for trade across Europe, the Monnaie de Paris was creating coins that were spread around France. This means that this mint has been producing money for many different political climates, including for the Nazis during WWII.

Interestingly, this mint even immediately switched over to producing Euros soon after France joined the European Union. Since this mint has printed many different types of currency while employing local citizens, it is the oldest mint in human history.

Interesting Facts: 

  • The oldest mint in human history.
  • Has produced Francs and Euros.
  • The oldest active government corporation in known human history.
  • Didn’t start producing Euros until 1998.
  • Produced German currency during Nazi occupation.

3. Staffelter Hof Winery 

Age: 1,156 years 
Year Founded: 862 CE   
Country: Germany 
Industry: Winery, Hospitality 

staffelter-hof-winery

image credit: Staffelter

If you want to see the oldest winery in the world, which also serves as a guest house, look no further than the Staffelter Hof Winery in Germany. Founded in 862, there was once a point where Roman soldiers would have come here to purchase wine.

In addition to surviving the fall of the Holy Roman Empire, this winery also survived the destruction of WWI and WWII, where over 10 million Germans lost their lives and various places were left in ruins.

Interesting Facts: 

  • Serves both as a guest house and winery today.
  • Cultivates over seven hectares of vines.
  • Was once part of the Holy Roman Empire.
  • Survived the rise and fall of Hitler’s Third Reich, WWII, and the Allied invasion of Germany.

2. Genda Shigyō Paper Industries (源田紙業株式会社) 

Age: 1,247 years
Year Founded: 771 CE   
Country: Japan 
Industry: Paper  

genda-paper

image credit: Shinise

Although paper wasn’t invented by Japan (we can thank China for that), this is the longest-running paper distribution in the world. Dating back well over 1,000 years, it is impressive that a company like this has survived for such a long time without succumbing to economic factors such as competition.

Interesting Facts: 

  • Prints ceremonial paper products, such as cards for weddings.
  • Does gift wrapping using sophisticated paper designs.
  • Specializes in twisting paper into cords.

1. Kongō Gumi (株式会社金剛組) 

Age: 1,428 years 
Year Founded: 578 CE    
Country: Japan 
Industry: Construction  

Kongo-gumi

image credit: Wikipedia

Although technically this company underwent a liquidation in 2006, it is still worth mentioning. Technically, the remnants of the once-great company are still around after they were purchased away. At least until time makes it more and more irrelevant. With a history that dated over 1,400 years, many

It is difficult to imagine why anybody who runs the oldest company in the world would allow it to come to a close, this is what recently happened to this company. It appears that massive debt is what caused this company to come to a close.

Interesting Facts: 

  • Founded slightly over 100 years after the fall of the Roman Empire
  • Became a subsidiary of Takamatsu in 2006
  • Built the historic Osaka Castle
  • Technically no longer active as the oldest company in the world.

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