We recently introduced another category, Where Did That Come From?, to our growing blog content. In that opening article, we shared some interesting data on the origin of organization and product names such as 7-11, Adidas, Caterpiller, Pepsi and Skype.
Today, we continue that journey by exploring the origins of the following companies: Apple, Cadillac, Coca-Cola, Haagen-Dazs, and Lego.
- Cadillac is a luxury vehicle marque owned by General Motors Company. Cadillac vehicles are sold in more than 50 countries and territories but mainly in North America. Founded in 1902 as the Cadillac Automobile Company, it was purchased in 1909 by General Motors and over the next 30 years established itself as America’s premier luxury car. It was named after the 18th century French explorer Antoine Laumet de La Mothe, sieur de Cadillac, founder of Detroit, Michigan.
- The Coca-Cola Company is the world’s largest beverage company, largest manufacturer, distributor and marketer of non-alcoholic beverage concentrates and syrups in the world and is one of the largest corporations in the United States. The company is best known for its flagship product Coca-Cola, invented by pharmacist John Stith Pemberton in 1886. Besides its namesake Coca-Cola beverage, Coca-Cola currently offers nearly 400 brands in more than 200 countries or territories and serves 1.5 billion servings each day. The beverage is derived from the coca leaves and kola nuts used as flavoring. Creator Pemberton changed the “K” of kola to “C” to make the name look better.
- Despite the foreign-sounding name, Häagen-Dazs ice cream was established by Polish immigrants Reuben and Rose Mattus in the Bronx, New York, in 1961. Starting with just three flavors (vanilla, chocolate, and coffee), the company opened its first retail store in Brooklyn, New York, in 1976 and then offered franchises throughout the United States and 54 other countries around the world. Today, it offers well over 90 flavors. Häagen-Dazs produces ice cream, ice cream bars, ice cream cakes, sorbet and frozen yogurt. The name was invented in 1961 by ice-cream makers “to convey an aura of the old-world traditions and craftsmanship.” The name actually has no meaning. The Häagen-Dazs brand is owned by General Mills. However, in the United States and Canada, Häagen-Dazs products are produced by Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream, Inc., a Nestlé subsidiary, under a pre-existing license.
- Apple Computer was co-founded in 1976 in Culpertino, California, by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniac and Ronald Wayne. A year later Wayne sold his share back to his two partners. Wonder how he feels about that today? The company currently operates more than 250 retail stores in nine countries and an online store where hardware and software products are sold. It boasts more than 35,000 employees worldwide. The company was named for the favorite fruit of co-founder Steve Jobs and/or for the time he worked at an apple orchard as well as to distance itself from the cold, unapproachable, complicated imagery created by other computer companies at the time–which had names such as IBM, DEC, Cincom and Tesseract.