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The World's Oldest Businesses

When you visit a business that's been around for a long time, you usually can make at least some assumptions about it -like the fact that it's reputable. But for us Americans, a business being around "a long time" means nothing compared to what it means in Europe or Asia. 

Over on Top Tenz, you can learn about some seriously old businesses, including the oldest pubs (which has been around in Ireland since about 900 AD) and the oldest hotel (which has been in Japan since 705 AD).


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Agreed!!! I know it is not VERY old but my house pre-dates 1648 (the earliest I can personally trace it back to) and the beams, the frame holding the wattle and daub structure together was originally built using wood from old ships. You can still see the old nails and smooth areas where the oars rested. I am sure there are many, many businesses originally intended for shipping that still live on in the form of barns and houses/cottage reclamations.
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Nintendo is included, having started as a playing card company. Interestingly, the name (and town) "Tendo" is associated with hand-painted Shogi playing pieces (a kind of Japanese chess). When the Samurai were disbanded, they needed to find some kind of employment that was still honorable. One such business was in making Shogi tiles, since the game is one of warfare and strategy, and thus a suitable subject for the occupation of Samurai. (I read this in a book on Japanese crafts, but cannot find the book to make a proper citation)

Similarly, another displaced Samurai reluctantly made his home estate into an inn on the road between Edo and Kyoto. This inn is wonderfully described in Oliver Statler's book "Japanese Inn" (http://www.amazon.com/Japanese-Inn-Oliver-Statler/dp/0824808185).
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Discussion of really old businesses makes me think of the ship of Theseus, or in some cases where businesses change what they do, of old ships that were "preserved" by being turned into barns.
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