View Full Version : Misc The 100 Oldest Family-Owned Businesses in the World

Rain Man
06-07-2008, 04:05 PM
I thought this was kind of interesting. The article is a little confusing, but I presume these are only family-owned businesses and not other types of businesses. I doubt that any non-family-owned businesses would rival these anyway. They also say that the list may not be accurate, but nonetheless it's entertaining.

It's also interesting that #1 on the list went out of business in 2007. How do you know you're in a recession? When the oldest business in the world, which survived the Middle Ages, the Plague, the Mongol Invasions, the fall of the Holy Roman Empire, the Hundred Years War, competition from new continents, a couple of world wars, and a couple of nuclear bombs says, "That's it. We give up."


1. Kongo Gumi founded in 578

Construction company based in Osaka, Japan. The firm was founded back in 578. It ended its activity in 2007, being considered the oldest company in the world until then. It was operated by the representatives of the 40th generation. Prince Shotoku was the one to bring the representative of Kongo family to Japan from Korea. The event took place more that 1,400 years ago. The Kongo family was brought to construct the Buddhist Shitennoji Temple, which, by the way, still can be viewed today. Throughout centuries, Kongo Gumi has taken part in the creation of many well-known buildings like the Osaka castle, constructed in the 16th century.

2. Hoshi Ryokan founded in 718.

The firm's business deals with innkeeping. The company was founded in Komatsu, Japan in 718. The firm is operated by the family's members, who represent its 46th generation. The legend states that the god of Mount Hakusan once visited a Buddhist priest and asked him to uncover a hot spring located underground in a nearby village. When he found the hot spring, the priest asked that his student, the son of a woodcutter, Garyo Saskiri, construct and run a spa on the spot. Since then his family, who was known as Hoshi, have managed a hotel in Komatsu. The structure that stands today is able to house 450 people, in its 100 rooms. Each customer is treated as a privileged guest. In addition each customer receives a traditional Japanese welcome by being invited to a tea ceremony. Today its manager is Zengoro Hoshi. The firm's official website in: http://www.ho-shi.co.jp/jiten/Houshi_E/.

3. Chateau de Goulaine founded in 1000.

This place represents a vineyard, museum and a butterfly collection. It is located in Haute Goulaine, France and was founded back in 1000. The castle is run by a Goulaine family, who possesses an extremely rare butterfly collection. The family's museum hosts different functions, including weddings. Visitors can purchase wine made from the castle's vineyards. The firm's official site is: http://chateau.goulaine.online.fr

4. Fonderia Pontificia Marinelli founded in 1000.

This bell foundry was set in Agnore, Italy in 1000. Agnore is a small town located high in the Appenine hills. The firm's managers still apply the same techniques of using wax as the firm's founders (a wax "false bell" is covered with the actual thing). The bells of Fonderia Pontificia Marinelli are toll worldwide, in: New York, Beijing, Jerusalem, South America and Korea. The family business currently employs 20 people. Among these employees there are 5 members of the Marinelli family. Today the firm is managed by Pasquale Marinelli. In 1997, the firm opened its museum, which shows the work of Pasquale's brother, an Italian sculptor Ettore Marinelli.

5. Barone Ricasoli founded in 1141.

The firm produces wine and olive oil. It was founded in Siena, Italy back in 1141. For the first time the land was given to the Ricasoli barons by the Republic of Florence. The land today serves as the family's Brolio Estate, occupying around 3,600 acres. The central activity of the family is focused around wine production. Ricasoli has only 26 acres used for the cultivation of olives. The firm's official website is: www.ricasoli.it

6. Barovier & Toso founded in 1295

A glass making family business based in Venezia, Italy. The firm was founded in 1295. On Murano Island it creates crystalline glass, mother-of-pearl glass as well as gold-free cornelian red. The island is located 10 minutes ferry ride from Venice. In 1936 the Barovier family merged with the Toso family. The latter were also a family that worked in the field of glass production. The official site of the firm is: www.barovier.com.

7. Hotel Pilgrim Haus founded in 1304

This family business refers to innkeeping. It was founded in 1304 in Soest, Germany. Currently the Hotel Pilgrim Haus is run by the Andernach family in Soest, which is a town located 110 miles north of Frankfurt. The company's official website is: www.pilgrimhaus.de.

8. Richard de Bas founded in 1326

This family business makes paper. It was founded in Amvert d'Auvergne, France in 1326. The firm has a longstanding reputation for producing high-quality papers. This fact led to a number of high-profile jobs. It is worth mentioning that the firm has provided paper for limited-edition works made by Braque and Picasso. The company also operates a museum. The firm's official site is: www.richarddebas.fr.

9. Torrini Firenze founded in 1369

This business is represented by a family of goldsmiths. The family founded its business in 1369 in Florence, Italy. Florence was the destination of Jacopus Torrini when he decided to move away from his native village of Scarperia and create armor for Florentine knights. Later the workshop of Torrini developed into a goldsmith, where the master made jewels along with other objects of high value. One of the family's most valuable creations is its mysterious "Oro Nativo" method of manufacturing. This method refers to the process of working with gold while maintaining its most natural color. The firm's official website is: www.torrini.com.

10. Antinori founded in 1383

The Florence-based company works in the field of wine production. It was founded in Florence, Italy in 1385 and is currently operated by the representatives of the family's 19th generation. Ever since Giovanni di Piero Antinori stuck together with the Florentine Guild of Vintners, the Italian family has been making high-quality wine. Today a system of vineyards located in Italy, United States, Hungary, Malta and Chile is under control of Marchese (Count) Piero Antinori and his 3 daughters. The company's Chiantis and other classics are highly appreciated by consumers and wine critics worldwide. Since 1506 the firm has be located in a Florentine palazzo.

See the link for the other 90.

Hammock Parties
06-07-2008, 04:19 PM
You gotta love gods that are into spas.

06-07-2008, 04:33 PM
Got a new slogan for Jose Cuervo:

"Jose Cuervo Gold Tequila, convincing co-eds into anal since 1758!"