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Centenarians of 2014

Updated on September 2, 2019

A number of businesses, agencies, organizations, and sites are celebrating their milestone 100th anniversary this year, 2014. This article gives a brief account of some that continue to impact us and the world.

Merrill Lynch (building), Asheville, NC
Merrill Lynch (building), Asheville, NC | Source

Merrill Lynch

Charles Merrill worked in the textile industry before founding Charles E. Merrill and Company on New York City’s Wall Street in January 1914. He borrowed $10.00 to start the company. His friend Edmund C. Lynch later joined him and together they formed Merrill Lynch & Co. In 1916, Winthrop Smith came aboard. The first deal was with a client who traded 20 percent of his household product company for two million dollars. This business model proved successful for Merrill Lynch.

In 1928, Mr. Merrill purchased controlling interest in Safeway Supermarket and grew it into a chain. In 1930, the retail division of Merrill Lynch became part of the brokerage firm Edward A. Pierce & Co. making them the largest investment banking firm in the United States (U.S.) at the time. Declining profits in 1940 caused a merger between the two companies plus a third in which they had controlling interests.

In 1941, there was another merger and name change. In 1949, they launched a successful ad campaign and developed courses to educate the public. In 1952, Merrill Lynch became known as a corporation and holding company. In 1971, they went public, which resulted in them becoming a global corporation with assets of $1.8 trillion dollars.

Merrill Lynch’s innovation and success continued until the corporation came under fire for mismanagement and misappropriation of funds in the 2000s. The 9/11/2001 terrorists’ attack also aided their downfall. In 2008, they were sold to Bank of America and became Merrill Lynch Wealth Management. Despite it all, Mother Merrill, as they were once nicknamed, is still one of the world’s largest brokerage houses.

ASCAP logo
ASCAP logo | Source
Nicholas Brian Marsh aka PUBLIC @ 2013 ASCAP Awards
Nicholas Brian Marsh aka PUBLIC @ 2013 ASCAP Awards | Source

American Society of Composers, Authors And Publishers (ASCAP)

This 500,000 plus strong U.S. organization is the only one of its kind that is owned and operated by its members -composers, lyricists, songwriters, and music publishers- who work in every genre of music including concert, jazz, musical theater, Latin, film and television, and Christian. ASCAP also protects the works of foreign musical artists by affiliating with their international organizations and societies.

ASCAP licenses or grants permission to use the copyrighted works of its members, and collects and distributes royalties on their behalf. Additionally, the organization supports the careers of potential artists through workshops, grants, awards, and showcases.

To celebrate their 100 years in existence (1914-2014), ASCAP created a list of their top 100 songs. The top three are: 1) Happy Birthday To You written in 1893 by Mildred and Patty Hill and sung by the Happy Occasion Singers. 2) My Girl written in 1964 by Smokey Robinson and Ronald A. White, and sung by The Temptations. 3) White Christmas written in 1940 by Irving Berlin and sung by Bing Crosby. Other celebratory events included “ASCAP” Day, which was held in Tennessee and New York; a Library of Congress exhibit in Washington, D.C.; other tributes, and proclamations.

Tastykake van
Tastykake van | Source

Favorite Tastykake Treat

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Tastykake Company

The Tastykake bakery was formed by Pittsburgh baker Philip J. Baur and Bostonian egg salesman Herbert T. Morris with the $50,000 dollars they collected from family and friends. It was reported that on that first business day in 1914, they made 100 cakes. By the end of year, they had sold $300,000 dollars.

After running into financial problems in 2011, the Tasty Baking Company as they are officially known merged with the Georgia-based Flowers Food Inc. Today under president Paul Ridder, the company makes roughly five million cakes, cookies, pies, and donuts.

Centennial celebrations include the creation of a birthday cake or kake made with their noted Peanut Butter Kandy Kakes, Chocolate cupcakes, Butterscotch Krumpets, and Juniors; and limited edition confetti cupcake with chocolate icing and rainbow sprinkles, which they plan to sell to customers, distribute to charities and first responders throughout Philadelphia, and USO troops.

President George Bush & comedian Steve Bridges @ 2006 White House Correspendents Dinner.
President George Bush & comedian Steve Bridges @ 2006 White House Correspendents Dinner. | Source

White House Correspondents Association (WHCA)

Discord between newspaper reporters and then President Woodrow Wilson about the verity of his press conferences, led to the 1914 formation of the White House Correspondents Association. Besides receiving accreditation, newspaper reporters could now have access to the president, which enabled them to supply their reading public with accurate information about the administration. In 1915, President Wilson ceased the press conferences, but they were reinstated in 1921 by President Warren G. Harding.

The association’s place in the White House began with a simple table. Today’s press corp (roughly 250 strong) occupies a press room in the West Wing.

In 1920, the WHCA created the iconic White House Correspondents Dinner held each spring. That first dinner was attended by 50 men not including the president. The first president to attend was Calvin Coolidge in 1924. Today’s dinners are attended by at least a couple of thousand men and women. The next one is scheduled for Saturday, May 3, 2014. The highlight will, of course, be the usual Presidential roasting.

The White House Correspondents Association continues to hand out credentials to White House journalists, correspondents, and photographers; oversee the briefing rooms; and present awards for “excellence in political journalism.” Anniversary events include C-SPAN’s filming of the White House Historical Association conference with a WHCA panel.

Original SNAPS from American Licorice Company
Original SNAPS from American Licorice Company | Source
Sour Punch Bits from American Licorice Company
Sour Punch Bits from American Licorice Company | Source

Favorite Candy from the American Licorice Company

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American Licorice Company

The American Licorice Company began its candy-making in Chicago, Illinois (IL) in 1914. Their first sugary treat was Black Licorice Twists for adults. In the Depression era (1929-1939), they created black licorice cigarettes and cigars. In 1925, the company purchased the bankrupt San Francisco Universal Licorice Company. Actor Charlie Chaplin asked them to create a licorice shoe for his upcoming film The Gold Rush, in which the character he played had to eat a leather shoe to stave off hunger. In the 1930s, they created Snaps- chewy black licorice middle with a sugary coating. During World War II, they made only Lic-Ris-Ets. In 1963, they created unwrapped Red Ropes and the uniquely long Licorice Ropes. Later, the company wrapped individual Ropes and created a ‘Super Ropes’ line.

In 1970, the San Francisco licorice plant moved to Union City, California. Four years later, the Chicago plant relocated to Alsip, IL. In 1983, American Licorice packaged Red Vines in a knob-top jar. They also began making peppermint-flavored Green Vines, grape-flavored Purple Vines, Chocolate Vines, and a Licorice Bar. In 1990, the sour candy line was born, and the mid-1990s, they created Herbal Candy Chews, Red-Ets, Riza, and Twistetts: confections made with organic ingredients and no preservatives. In 2000, corporate headquarters moved to Oregon.

Centennial anniversary celebrations include the return of the original raspberry-flavored Red Vines line, updated packaging, and the inclusion of calorie information as determined by the National Confectioners Association’s Treat Right guidelines.

Solid white Albacore Tuna in water from Chicken of the Sea
Solid white Albacore Tuna in water from Chicken of the Sea | Source
Healthy Selections Chunk Light Tuna from Chicken of the Sea
Healthy Selections Chunk Light Tuna from Chicken of the Sea | Source

Spiced Tuna Fishcakes - Gordon Ramsay

Chicken of the Sea

In 1914, Chicken of the Sea began as the California (CA) tuna fish canning company called Van Camp Seafood. It was founded by Frank Van Camp and his son. In 1930, branding was established and included the fishermen’s description of white albacore tuna as “the chicken of the sea.” In 1952, with inspiration from actor Grace Lee Whitney of the original Star Trek series, the mermaid logo was created. In1960, the jingle with the line “Ask any mermaid you happen to see” was written. Both marketing ploys propelled the brand’s public image.

In 1963, the company was sold to the Missouri-based Ralston Purina, who then moved the cannery to American Samoa and headquarters to St. Louis, Missouri. In 1990, headquarters returned to San Diego, CA. To save the company from bankruptcy, the conglomerate Tri-Union Seafoods LLC purchased it in 1997 and changed the name to Chicken of the Sea International. Both companies eventually merged under that name in 1998.

Concerns for dolphins and human health came in 1990, and the company established “The Mermaid Cares: Dolphin Safe Policy,” requiring all of their products to be dolphin-safe. In 2005, they created portion-control, Ready-to-Eat Foil pouches and To-Go cups. Today Chicken of the Sea leads the global pack in canned and packaged seafood.

Chicken of the Sea anniversary events include a “paying it forward” campaign; “100 years of Good”- investing one million dollars in Americans who perform works of good deeds in their communities; special promotional parties; a mermaid tour; and limited edition commemorative packaging.

Sign outside Wrigley Field ballpark
Sign outside Wrigley Field ballpark | Source

Wrigley Field

This iconic baseball stadium, home to the National League’s Chicago Cubs, is one of the oldest ballparks in the Major Leagues. In fact, it is the second oldest. It was constructed in 1914 for the Federal League’s Chicago Whales and named WeeghamPark after then owner Charles H. Weegham. The Federal League dissolved in 1915, and Weegham bought the Cubs from the Taft family of Cincinnati, Ohio. In 1920, William Wrigley, Jr. of Wrigley Chewing Gum purchased the team from Weegham. In 1926, the ballpark’s name was changed to Wrigley Field.

Wrigley Field was the first baseball stadium to establish permanent concession stands and to allow fans to keep balls batted their way. Lights were added in 1988, and the first night game was played in August of that year against the New York Mets. It was supposed to be a game played the previous night against the Philadelphia Phillies, but that got rained out.

A couple of things unique to Wrigley Field: the scoreboard is manually-operated; you can determine the Chicago Cubs’ wins and losses by the colors of a flag flying atop the scoreboard- white flag with a blue “W” means they won. Blue with a white “W” means they lost; urinals in the men’s bathroom that look like troughs.

Historic moments: Short stop Ernie Banks batted his 500th home run in 1970; right fielder Sammy Sosa batted 60 home runs in 1998, 1999, and 2001.

Dodge 100th anniversary sign, New York Auto Show, 2014
Dodge 100th anniversary sign, New York Auto Show, 2014 | Source

Dodge Muscle Cars

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Machinists’ brothers Horace and John Dodge supplied automotive parts to the Ford Company for their Model T cars. When they lost the contract, they decided to manufacture their own vehicles. In 1914, they became the first in the U.S. to mass-produce cars with an all-steel chassis. The brothers died in 1920 and five years later, their widows sold the company to a New York investment banking firm. They in turn sold it to Chrysler in 1928.

Besides the Charger, which incidentally is the only four-door/ sedan muscle car in the world, Dodge original vehicles included the Oldsmobile and the Challenger. Today under Chrysler, other models include the Grand Caravan (the best-selling minivan in the U.S.), the Durango SUV, Dart, Journey, and the Avenger.

To celebrate their historic 100th birthday, Dodge has created limited edition Chargers and Challengers with special commemorative logos and badges, key fobs, red pearl coat paint, 20-inch, 5-spoke aluminum wheels, 31 mpg with a v-6 engine, owner’s kit, among other exclusive details and parts. Purchase was scheduled to begin the first quarter of 2014.

USS Missouri (1945), Panama Canal
USS Missouri (1945), Panama Canal | Source

Panama Canal

The 48-mile (77Km) long canal, built under a U.S.–Panama treaty, connects the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean. Traveling along the canal through a series of locks, ships save themselves the 8,000-mile (12, 875 km) distance around the end of South America.

France was first to attempt the engineering feat necessary to build the canal in the 1880s. But the U.S. completed it between 1904 and 1914. Seventy-five thousand men and women worked on building the Panama Canal, which consists of two main dammed artificial lakes. A good many of those men and women lost their lives.

Panama took full control of the canal and surrounding territory from the U.S. in December, 1999. Both countries though continue to share in the waterway’s defense. Plans are currently underway to widen the canal, adding a third set of locks to allow travel of larger vessels.

A number of cruise liners such as the Princess, HollandAmerica, Royal Caribbean, and Carnival planned at least one trip in celebration of the Panama Canal’s centennial anniversary. In addition to enjoying the wildlife and picturesque scenery along the way, travelers on some of these ships will be treated to lectures and other celebratory events.

Door of Federal Trade Commission building, Washington, D.C. United States of America
Door of Federal Trade Commission building, Washington, D.C. United States of America | Source

Federal Trade Commission

The Bureau of Corporations was created in 1903 through legislation brought forth by then U. S. President Theodore Roosevelt. Their jobs were to research business and policy, and prepare reports for the president and Congress. This agency was the precursor to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) established in 1914 under the administration of President Woodrow Wilson. The FTC’s functions were to protect consumers from deception and unfair tactics by the marketplace and promote competition in business by preventing monopolies and creating free trade. The agency does this through hearings, education, conferences, advocacy, and the enforcement of antitrust laws. It also investigates mergers and consults with national and foreign law enforcement agencies.

The Federal Trade Commission has been headquartered in Washington, D.C. since 1938. The building is recognized by the two outdoor statues in the front called Man Controlling Trade.

Maserati 100th anniversary sign, New York Auto Show, 2014
Maserati 100th anniversary sign, New York Auto Show, 2014 | Source


Founded in Bologna, Italy, in 1914 by three Maserati brothers, the brand is considered to be one of the most elite in the automobile industry. They were originally the racing division of auto manufacturer Diatto. When that company folded in 1926, they began racing under their own name. Their race car Tipo won its debut race at the Targa Florio that year and received the nickname Tipo 26. It also won two Indy 500s and a Formula One World Championship.

Maserati’s first passenger car was launched in 1947. Today the company is making a range of models to include mainstream vehicles such as the Levante SUV and the Ghibli sedan. The Ghibli was first built in 1969. The 3500GT, which made its first appearance in 1957, also belongs to Maserati. There are also the luxurious Quattroporte and Granturismo lines.

In celebration of its 100 years, Maserati has a list of events including new book Maserati- A Century of History, which details its history, and a Mid-September social in Modena, Italy in which some 250 autos are expected to drive on local roads and race tracks.

Greyhound bus
Greyhound bus | Source

Greyhound Lines

Greyhound Lines, Inc. was established in 1914 after Swede Carl Eric Wickman lost his tire and Hupmobile car franchise the year before. Wickman saw a need to transport car-less and economically-poor miners in his hometown of Hibbing, Minnesota to their iron pit jobs in the nearby town of Alice. That original vehicle seated 15 and Wickman charged 15 cents per ride.

Over the years, Wickman and his partners continued to expand their transportation business by purchasing or merging with rivals across the U.S. In 1930, headquarters relocated to Chicago. Later a national ad campaign increased company visibility. In 1971, they moved to Phoenix, Arizona and in 1987 to Dallas, Texas, the company’s current home. Since 2008, Greyhound has been owned by a British conglomerate.

According to Greyhound Lines, Inc., they are now “the largest provider of inner-city bus transportation.” They boast a fleet of about 1,735 green, techno-savvy buses, and travels to more than 3,800 destinations in 48 states throughout the U.S. Adding Canada, its annual passenger list is roughly 18 million. The company has expanded to include charter packages for schools, churches, businesses, and conventions at group rates. There is also Greyhound Express, Greyhound Connect for rural travelers, and Bolt and YO bus lines. The latter bus line serves northeastern Chinatown communities.


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