Fortune top 20 – 50 years ago and today

I thought it would be interesting to see how the makeup of the top 20 companies in America has changed in the past 50 years. Below you’ll find the 20 largest companies by revenue in 1961 and 2011, according to Fortune Magazine If you want to see the lists for yourself, go here.

You may be wondering why you don’t see some of the most visible U.S. companies, like Microsoft and Apple, on the list. Their revenue figures aren’t high enough to be in the top 20. Apple came in at 35 on the 2011 list, with $65.2 billion in sales, and Microsoft came in at 38 with $62.4 billion in sales.

Obviously, a company called ExxonMobil did not exist in 1961. Fortune explains:

Since 1955, when the first FORTUNE 500 was created, more than 1,800 companies have appeared on the list. Many of these companies have changed names over this period, owing to mergers, acquisitions, and bankruptcies. Other companies have gone private, or simply changed their names.

Companies are listed by the name with which they were associated in 2005, or at the time of their most recent list appearance before that. FORTUNE 500 companies that have been acquired by other FORTUNE 500 companies are listed under the name of the acquiring company. Rankings have been revised to reflect corrections in data.

RankCompany in 1961RevenueProfitsCompany in 2011RevenueProfits
1General Motors12,736.0959.0Wal-Mart Stores421,849.016,389.0
2Exxon Mobil8,034.7688.6Exxon Mobil354,674.030,460.0
3Ford Motor5,237.9427.9Chevron196,337.019,024.0
4General Electric4,197.5200.1ConocoPhillips184,966.011,358.0
5U.S. Steel3,698.5304.2Fannie Mae153,825.0-14,014.0
6Mobil3,178.1182.6General Electric151,628.011,644.0
7Chrysler3,007.032.2Berkshire Hathaway136,185.012,967.0
8Texaco2,980.3391.8General Motors135,592.06,172.0
9Gulf Oil2,720.8330.3Bank of America Corp.134,194.0-2,238.0
10AT&T Technologies2,640.4124.5Ford Motor128,954.06,561.0
12Bethlehem Steel2,178.1121.2AT&T124,629.019,864.0
13DuPont2,142.6381.4JP Morgan Chase115,475.017,370.0
15General Dynamics1,987.7-27.1McKesson108,702.01,263.0
16CBS1,955.779.1Verizon Communications106,565.02,549.0
17Shell Oil1,827.8144.6American Intl Group104,417.07,786.0
19Navistar International1,683.353.7Cardinal Health98,601.9642.2
20Kraft1,667.250.7Freddie Mac98,601.9-14,025.0

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