Before 2022 races to a close, let's recognize a very rare business milestone — the 125th birthday of Dow Inc.
In 1897, after a few false starts, Herbert Dow rounded up investors in Cleveland and Michigan to finance a bleach plant. America's first comic strip—The Katzenjammer Kids—debuted that same year, as did the Boston Marathon.
"All told, (stockholders) provided Herbert Dow with $83,333 in new capital," E.N. Brandt wrote in a Dow company history published in 1997. "It was more money than he had ever had before. His new company, the Dow Chemical Co., was under way."
Midland, Mich.-based Dow has come a long way since then. Today, the firm employs almost 36,000 worldwide and ranks as one of the world's largest producers of polyethylene resin and other specialty plastics and chemicals.
Dow officially marked the big 1-2-5 in May. CEO Jim Fitterling, who's been with the firm since 1984 and has held that title since 2018, commented on the event at the time.
"Living your values during a season of success can feel simple," he wrote in a blog post. "In the face of challenges, however, it can be far more difficult.
"The last 125 years have presented their fair share of both. What matters most in these moments is less the result of our efforts, but more so our willingness to keep moving forward no matter the challenge."
Fitterling added that the average lifespan of a U.S. S&P 500 company today is only 15 years.