First of all, I'm sorry that I've been slacking off on the lists. It's been a combination of not having enough time, due to a plethora of freelance work, and not having enough complete lists to include (though I have many works-in-progress). This list, in fact, could probably stand a bit more research, and if any of you have some good ideas for it, let me know and I'll update it. In short, it's a list of currently-existing corporations and organizations whose company names are now anachronisms.
- 20th Century Fox. This Hollywood film studio got its name from a merger between Twentieth Century Pictures and the Fox Film Corporation in 1935. The actual twentieth century ended - depending on your beliefs - in either 2000 or 2001, making the studio's name appear increasingly old-fashioned.
- 7-Eleven. The largest retail chain in the world, 7-Eleven has been famous since 1962 for its stores being open 24 hours a day - not, as its name implies, from 7am to 11pm, though those were the stores' actual operating hours when the company took on the name back in 1946.
- AT&T. The telecommunications giant's name stands for American Telephone and Telegraph. Only they haven't had anything to do with telegraphs in years, and in fact telegraphy is nearly nonexistent in the US today. Even Western Union canceled telegram service in 2006.
- The NAACP. I hope this is not a touchy subject for my readers, but this organization, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, uses a decidedly outdated term for African Americans. It's ironic that, in an age where the phrase "colored person" is considered extremely offensive, the organization most commonly associated with serving the rights of African Americans still holds onto it.
- The United Negro College Fund. As with the above, tradition upholds the name of this non-profit institution, even while "negro" as a term for African Americans is now generally frowned upon.
- McDonald's. Countless companies retain the names of their founders even though the founders are long dead. But McDonald's hasn't had anything remotely to do with any actual McDonalds since 1961. Today, even the fast food giant considers Ray Kroc, not Dick and Mac McDonald, as its founder. The McDonald brothers opened up their eponymous restaurant in 1940 and didn't franchise it until 1953. In 1955, milkshake machine salesman Kroc purchased the ninth franchise, and in six short years he had bought the brothers out - screwing them over in the process. Though the restaurants' production line style of food service still harkens back to the McDonalds, everything else about it is really Kroc's.
- MTV. Although this cable television network very recently (as in last month) attempted to bring music videos back into its normal airing schedule, it's fair to say that "Music Television" hasn't described MTV's content for well over a decade.
- VH1. MTV's sister network. Its acronym stands for "Video Hits 1" and its initial programming format was adult contemporary music, an intentional contrast to the youth-oriented videos on MTV. Today, the network plays music videos in the wee hours, but is more associated with reality shows than with "video hits".
- Coca-Cola. To the disappointment of many, I'm sure, coca leaves are no longer the key stimulant in the world's most popular soft drink, though they remain in the name. Not everybody knows that Coke's inventor John Pemberton felt that coca(ine) was a good way to help thousands of Civil War veterans - including himself - overcome their morphine addictions. (Like McDonald's, Coke became an institution thanks not to its founder but to a wily businessman: Asa Candler, who took over the business from Pemberton.)