1Kongō Gumi — Construction/578 AD (Japan)
Headquartered in Osaka, the once family-owned company traces its origins back to 578 AD when one of the engineers Prince Shotoku brought from Baekje to Japan to build the Shitennoji Temple decided to start his own business. A 10-foot, 17th-century scroll traces 40 generations back to the company's start. As with many distinguished Japanese families, sons-in-law often joined the clan and took the Kongō family name. Thus, through the years, the line has continued through either a son or a daughter.
Unfortunately, nothing can last forever. Kongō Gumi fell on hard times and went into liquidation in January 2006, but the company continues to operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of the Takamatsu Construction Group. It should also be noted that the Kongō family still continues to practice as Miya Daiku (carpenters). (Source | Photo)
2Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan — Hotel/705 AD (Japan)
Keiunkan is considerably larger than it was over a thousand years ago, but both the look and feel of the inn have remained unchanged, despite its modern amenities. (Source | Photo)
3St. Peter's Stiftskeller — Restaurant/803 AD (Austria)
The Stiftskeller, located in St. Peter's Archabbey, was at one time indistinguishable from a monk's pub. Not only is it the oldest restaurant, but it's also the seventh-oldest company in the world and the oldest company outside of Japan. (Source | Photo)
4Sean's Bar — Pub/900 AD (Ireland)
During renovations in the 1970s, workers found evidence that the already historic pub may have been around longer than anyone had previously thought. It was discovered that one of the walls was made of wattle and daub, an ancient building compound that used wooden strips held together by mud and clay. They also found some coins that dated back to around 900 AD, which was confirmed when the wall was carbon tested.
It is believed the bar was established as an inn for travelers crossing the fjords that were once in the area.
Sean's holds records of every owner since its inception, including Boy George, who was a proprietor back in 1987. (Source)
5Château de Goulaine — Winery/1000 AD (France)
Château de Goulaine is more than just a winery — it is a historic castle that was rebuilt in the 12th century and again in the 16th. The Goulaine family is prominent in French history — its members served in the Crusades and other in religious wars following the Catholic-Protestant split during the Reformation. The castle has been home to the same family for over a thousand years, and wine is still being produced here. The castle is also a museum, and houses numerous works of art. (Source | Photo)
6Pontificia Fonderia Marinelli — Foundry/1040 AD (Italy)
In 1924, Pontifical Marinelli was awarded "the title of pontifical foundry" by The Vatican. The Roman Catholic Church now accounts for 90 percent of all orders placed. The company is co-owned and operated by brothers Armando and Pasquale Marinelli, who produce up to 50 bells a year and currently employ 12 people. (Source | Photo)
7Rathbornes — Candlemakers/1488 AD (Ireland)
During the 19th Century, Rathborne held the contract for all the street lighting fittings in Dublin. When electricity became the norm, the company refocused its efforts on church candles. However, the Second Vatican Council decreed that Catholic churches should be stripped of much of their previous ornamentation including elaborate candles. But, as Rathborne's financial director Vincent Brady says, "the meddling ecclesiastical busybodies relented and the traditional church candle survived."
While the company is no longer in the hands of the Rathborne family (they have all since died out), the last direct descendant has an open invite to visit at any time.
The company has big plans for the future and is determined to be around another 500 years. Says Brady, “We would like to set up a museum where we could exhibit all the old machines and demonstrate the ancient candle-making skills, and maybe one day return to East Wall, which is our ancestral home." (Source | Photo)
8Beretta — Firearms/1526 AD (Italy)
Maestro Bartolomeo Beretta was a master gun barrel maker living in Gardone. In 1526, the Arsenal of Venice paid him to make 185 arquebus barrels, making the Beretta company the oldest manufacturing company in the world. The Beretta family has continuously controlled the company for its entire history. Ugo Gussalli Beretta and his two sons, Pietro and Franco, still maintain leadership of Beretta today. (Source | Photo)
9The Shirley Plantation — 1613 (U.S.)
10Post och Inrikes Tidningar — Newspaper/1645 AD (Sweden)
As the number of newspapers multiplied, PoIT reduced its news content, and, by the early 1900s, was no longer the newspaper of reference in Sweden. Instead, it became the country's official notification medium for announcements like bankruptcy declarations or auctions. In 1978, the paper adopted the booklet format, but readership continued to decline. The final print version had a circulation of only 1,500 and on January 1, 2007, it switched over to an Internet-only format.
Hans Holm, who served as the chief editor of the paper for 20 years, said, "We think it's a cultural disaster. It is sad when you have worked with it for so long, and it has been around for so long." (Source | Photo)