The Basics of Business History: Top 100 Events in Chronological Order

You'll find our top 100 U.S. business events of the century listed here by date, from 1901 to 1996.
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Do you remember where you were when ADM became the world's largest linseed-oil maker? Figure it out here with our top 100 U.S. business events of the century listed by date, from 1901 to 1996.

1900s

1901:

Morgan consolidates U.S. Steel (58)

1906:

The Jungle

is published (42)

1907:

U.S. immigration peaks (44)

1909:

Bakelite is introduced (17)

1910s

1910:

Frederick Taylor's 'scientific management' theory gains legitimacy (94)

Jan. 10, 1910:

Hallmark gets its start (100)

May 15, 1911:

The Supreme Court orders the breakup of Standard Oil (36)

1913:

The Federal Reserve is formed (3)

1913:

Ford introduces the assembly line (6)

1914:

Thomas Watson becomes president of IBM's predecessor (88)

Aug. 15, 1914:

The Panama Canal opens (86)

1915:

Carrier Engineering is founded, beginning the commercialization of air conditioning (10)

1920s

1922:

New York's WEAF broadcasts the first radio ad (35)

1923:

ADM becomes the world's largest linseed -oil maker (55)

1923:

Alfred Sloan becomes president of General Motors (66)

1928-29:

The explosion of RCA's stock epitomizes market mania (75)

March 31, 1929:

Bernays lights the 'Torches of Liberty' (76)

Oct. 24-29, 1929:

The Great Crash of 1929 (4)

1930s

Aug. 4, 1930:

The first U.S. supermarket, King Kullen, opens (81)

1932-34:

The Depression-era securities laws (19)

May 12, 1933:

The Agricultural Adjustment Act is signed (50)

1934:

Benjamin Graham's

Security Analysis

is published (62)

June 1934:

FDR signs the act creating the Federal Housing Administration (73)

1935:

The Public Utility Holding Company Act is enacted (85)

Dec. 17, 1935:

The first DC-3 flight (27)

1936:

Keynes publishes

The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money

(12)

1936-37:

The United Auto Workers stage their first sit-down strikes (14)

March 1, 1936:

Hoover Dam is completed (61)

1939:

Hewlett and Packard put Silicon in the Valley (16)

April 20, 1939:

The first commercial television broadcast (23)

1940s

1940:

Charles Merrill re-creates Merrill Lynch (52)

World War II:

Coca-Cola becomes a global brand (41)

1941-45:

Rosie the Riveter and FEPC: Women and minorities contribute to the war effort (72)

1942:

Kaiser's World War II shipyards surpass all expectations of production (7)

September 1943:

A Merck scientist synthesizes streptomycin (25)

1944:

The Bretton Woods agreement (29)

June 22, 1944:

FDR signs the GI Bill of Rights (43)

1946:

The baby boom begins (51)

1947:

Kennan's 'X' letter gives birth to the peacetime military-industrial complex (13)

1947:

Three Bell Labs scientists invent the transistor (28)

June 5, 1947:

The Marshall Plan (39)

October 1947:

Levittown opens (49)

1950s

July 17, 1955:

Disneyland opens (98)

June 29, 1956:

Eisenhower creates the interstates (1)

1957:

The first Japanese car, a Toyota, is sold in the U.S. (26)

July 29, 1958:

Eisenhower signs the act creating NASA (56)

September 1958:

Bank of America launches the first credit card (22)

1960s

1960s:

President Johnson's Texas-sized spending spurs domestic inflation (68)

July 1960:

Maiman unveils the first working laser (79)

1961:

Kroc buys McDonald's (15)

1961:

Frances Kelsey blocks the U.S. approval of thalidomide (63)

1962:

The first Wal-Mart opens (8)

June 1962:

The New Yorker

serializes

Silent Spring

(53)

1963:

Valium is introduced (87)

June 10, 1963:

Equal pay for equal work (5)

1964:

The Civil Rights Act (31)

Jan. 11, 1964:

The surgeon general reports that smoking causes lung cancer in men (83)

June 28, 1965:

Intelsat 1 goes into service (80)

July 30, 1965:

President Johnson signs Medicare into law (20)

August 1965:

Watts explodes in race riots (54)

1968:

Hospital Corp. of America is founded (48)

1970s

1970s:

Wage stagnation starts (37)

1970:

Xerox founds its Palo Alto Research Center (32)

1971:

Intel invents the single-chip microprocessor (2)

1971:

MCI is authorized to compete with AT&T (77)

1971:

Michael Milken starts Drexel's junk-bond trading operation (82)

June 18, 1971:

Southwest Airlines begins flying (91)

1973:

Cohen and Boyer pioneer recombinant DNA techniques (67)

April 1973:

Federal Express begins operations (70)

May/June 1973:

Black and Scholes introduce their options pricing model in the

Journal of Political Economy

(71)

1973-74:

The OPEC oil shock (40)

Sept. 2, 1974:

President Ford signs ERISA into law (34)

May 1, 1975:

Wall Street's fixed commissions end (59)

June 20, 1975:

Jaws

ushers in the blockbuster era in Hollywood (95)

September 1975:

HBO via satellite accelerates the fragmentation of the TV marketplace (84)

August 1976:

Bogle launches the First Index Investment Trust (89)

1978:

Toys R Us revives employee stock options (30)

1978:

The University of Phoenix, a for-profit university, is accredited (96)

October 1978:

The California asbestos lawsuits (60)

March 29, 1979:

The Three Mile Island disaster (99)

August 1979:

Volcker becomes Fed chairman (24)

1980s

1980:

Reagan is elected (11)

1980:

The Supreme Court allows gene patenting (33)

1980:

The CCITT Group 3 recommendation for facsimile machines is adopted (65)

Jan. 7, 1980:

The government bails out Chrysler (69)

1981:

Microsoft is tapped to provide the IBM operating system (21)

August 1981:

Reagan fires federal air traffic controllers (45)

October 1981:

Harley-Davidson adopts Japanese management techniques (92)

August 1982:

The current bull market begins (9)

1984:

Calpers promotes shareholder activism (57)

Jan. 1, 1984:

AT&T is dismantled (46)

Dec. 6, 1984:

Nasdaq gets its first blue-sky exemption (64)

1987:

Nike's Revolution ads commodify dissent (97)

Oct. 19, 1987:

The Black Monday crash (78)

1988:

The savings-and-loan crisis peaks (47)

1989:

The Berlin Wall falls, heralding the triumph of market capitalism (38)

1990s

April 1993 to present:

Lou Gerstner turns IBM around (90)

Aug. 9, 1995:

Netscape goes public (18)

Oct. 29, 1996:

AOL goes to flat-rate pricing (74)