In 1893 Caleb Bradham opened a pharmacy in North Carolina after dropping out of medical school due to a family crisis. While running his pharmacy he concocted a “healthy” cola, which was thought to aid in digestion. This refreshing drink was concocted of sugar, water, caramel, lemon oil, nutmeg, and other additives and was called “Brad’s Drink.” That name only lasted for five years and in 1898 it was renamed to…Pepsi Cola.
BackRub it. Yeah, that sounds way weird, but if one well-known company had kept their original name, we would be saying “BackRub it” instead of “Google it.” Way back in 1996, Ph.D. students Larry Page and Sergey Brin created a search engine they called BackRub. Taking up too much bandwidth on Stanford University’s website, Page and Brin eventually moved the company to a friend’s garage and registered the Google domain name, which originated from the word “googol,” which is the number 1 followed by 100 zeros.
The merger of four companies in 1911 created the Computing-Tabulation-Recording Company. The company manufactured a wide range of products, including employee time-keeping systems, weighing scales, automatic meat slicers, and punched card equipment. In 1924 the company was renamed to International Business Machines, otherwise known around the world as IBM.
Marufuku Co. Ltd
Originally named Marufuku, this company produced and marketed Hanafuda cards. In 1951 the company’s name was changed to “Nintendo Playing Card Co. Ltd.”
After the president of the company visited the largest playing card company at that time and saw how small the offices were, he decided to explore other ventures that could be more profitable. In 1963 the company dropped the “Playing Card Co. Ltd.” from their name and simplified it to Nintendo. Nintendo tried to find an industry where they could establish a solid business, even dabbling in the hotel industry, taxi services, and other ventures that continued to fail. Testing various markets, they finally hit gold with Nintendo Entertainment Center in 1986.
Jerry’s Guide to the World Wide Web
Once again Stanford University makes an appearance on our list. Two graduate students were putting off finishing their doctoral studies and playing around on the new phenomenon known as the World Wide Web. As they found new sites that they liked they would index them in a directory on their website. As the list began to grow, they decided to call their website “Jerry and David’s Guide to the World Wide Web,” after Jerry Yang and David Filo, the two students. The site was renamed in 1995 to Yahoo!, a backronym for “Yet Another Hierarchically Organized Oracle.”