In 1896, Charles Dow, the financial journalist who founded the Wall Street Journal, put together a list of 12 stocks intended to gauge the state of American industry.
Most of the names on the Dow Jones Industrial Average – The American Tobacco Company, US Leather, Tennessee Coal, Iron and Railroad – sound like companies from a bygone age of industrial tycoons.
None exist under their current name, except for one. Today, General Electric, a company formed in 1892 to consolidate Thomas Edison’s various electricity interests, still stands. For more than a century, the company saw its Dow Jones peers split up, acquired or go bankrupt while it held steady, the last remaining member of the famous benchmark….