Friday, July 20, 2007

BrandlandUSA's 100 Dead Brands To Bring Back

Below is a list of the best American brands that are no more. It's our list of the 100 Brands Americans Miss Most.

We have listed a few, but we know there are hundreds more regional and niche brands that are no more but still have a name or following. They are in no particular order, though we admit to liking Fisher Body very much. Find out more about these names at

1. Fisher Body. Every American used to look for these below the doors of GM cars. Can’t they use the logo occasionally?

2. F. W. Woolworth. What a waste to lose this American company. Can't it live as a high-concept specialty experientail brand?

3. Englehard Metals. Mr. Platinum, Charles Englehard, had his company closed down by BASF. Big waste of brand equity. BrandlandUSA gets tons of hits from people searching for Englehard gold.

4. Buddy L Toys. Pressed steel toys made by the Moline Pressed Steel Company might be a bit dangerous today, but hey, I am sure a safer version could be made.

5. International Harvester Scout. Can’t somebody make this thing again as a small SUV?

6. Burroughs Computer. Made history. And now gone.

7. Garfinkel’s. As much about D.C. as you can get in a department store.

8. B. Altman. What a screw up that was that killed this great, stylish N.Y. department store.

9. Hot Shoppes. Marriott started here; please bring it back J. Willard Jr. Even if it has to be a coffee blend brand or lobby coffee shop brand that appears on menus of Marriott hotels.

10. MCI. The scandal is already forgotten.

11. Euclid Trucks. Great brand of big trucks, created a market.

12. First Boston. A notable WASPY investment firm, much beloved.

13. S.G. Warburg. What a great, substantial name.

14. Dillon Read. A great New York firm.

15. Canor Plarex. Cool raingear.

16. Brownie chocolate drink. Better than Yoo-Hoo.

17. El Marko indelible pens. Could have been Sharpie.

18. Howard Johnson’s. Not much more to be said. Bring back those perverted clam strips.

19. Morton Frozen Foods. Love those Honey Buns.

20. Schiaperelli. A great fashion brand. We’ve heard it's back, a bit.

21. Sea-Land. Why oh why did this not survive? We know the Maersk brand is great but Sea-Land started the category.

22. Body on Tap. We don’t really want this beer shampoo back, but we do think it a fun experiment to see who would actually buy it. This came back. Check Vermont Country Store.

23. Riggs Bank. Right on the money, one of the great D.C. brand names.

24. Manufacturers Hanover Trust Company. Manny Hanny where are you?

25. E.F. Hutton. Still talking, but the parent company that shut it down isn’t listening.

26. Paine Webber. UBS is fine but Paine Webber still is a household name.

27. Enron. We admit this goes into the weird category; we wonder if it would brand some discount space heaters?

28. Chemical Bank. Why is this great bank brand gone. WHY?

29. Hallicrafters. The way cool World War II radio brand could have a new market with HD radio.

30. Plymouth. Chrysler dealers would do well to have a moderately priced sedan to sell alongside their increasingly posh offerings.

31. Romper Room. The Claster Television show should be back. NOW. Romper Stompers are still great.

32. Time-Life Books. It’s very important to have sets of the History of America in the living room, though they Jumped the Shark when they sold that Wild West series.

33. Oldsmobile. We want Ninety Eight. We want Delta 88. We want Cutlass. We want Toronado. We want Vista Cruiser.

34. St. Charles Kitchens. Before AGA stoves were sold in the U.S., these were the upper middle class holy grail.

35. Biggs Furniture. The best reproductions in Virginia.

36. Kinney Shoes. How Foot Locker killed off the Great American Shoe Store is a mystery that will never be solved.

37. Mr. Donut. Could-a been Dunkin’ Donuts. Better than Krispy Kreme.

38. Burger Chef. Could have been a contender. Could still be a niche player.

39. Dr. Denton’s. The inventor of kids’ footie pyjamas deserves to be a household name again.

40. Pan American World Airways. It lives, sort of, as a railroad, but Pan Am is only fun when they operated trans-Atlantic Boeing 747s. Thankfully, their training academy is still extant in Miami.

41. White Tower. Like White Castle, but with tiny round burgers and much more stylish architecture. Shame on Tombrock for letting it go.

42. Decca Radar. Shame on Northrop Grumman for letting this brand of radar die. Way cool thing; it was a spin-off of the gramophone company.

43. Studebaker. Case study on how to kill a great American company, but just because the management was bad doesn't mean the brand was.

44. United States Lines. Bring them, and the S.S. United States, back. Don't send her to the scrapper, or you will be bad Americans!

46. Rambler. The first real compacts. Retro hip, could be America’s Mini.

47. Addressograph Multigraph. While the Addressograph survived, it’s a great name even though the technology is not advanced anymore.

48. Grace Lines. Luxury liners to South America could have survived. Thankfully Grace Company does survive, even after being pillaged by trial lawyers.

49. Climax Ginger Ale. Sexy name for a stodgy Richmond, Virginia ginger ale. Do you drink it before, or after?

50. Statler Hotels. The first great hotelier’s name died off; there is no reason why it can’t come back if a luxury hotel brand is needed by a startup.

51. Look. Life has had a hard time returning, but we still want Look back, just like it was.

52. McCall’s. When Rosie killed it off, Gruner & Jahr should have switched the name back to McCall’s. Shame, shame. Big missed opportunity. Thankfully, McCall's patterns survive.

53. Digital Computers. An early and great name in computing.

54. Twentieth Century Limited. Why this doesn’t run once a week between New York and Chicago, we don’t know. But don’t sell it as a commuter train. Make it plush and streamlined.

55. Disney’s True Life Adventures. Disney needs to go back in the lemming business.

56. Life of Virginia. Creeps killed it off; it is now Genworth. Stupid.

57. Wheat First Securities. Brokers used the name even after it merged with First Union because the name was trusted.

58. McDonnell Douglas. No wonder the DC-9 stopped selling. They started calling it the MD-80 and then the Boeing 717. But it was still a Douglas Aircraft. Use this brand on something, Boeing. Perhaps a skunk-work division.

59. Burdines. The Florida department store deserves a second chance as a Macy's store brand sold in the resort and cruise departments across the nation. Don't lose that brand equity Macy's!

60. Kress. One of the early chain department stores; the Target of its day.

61. Realistic. One of the great store brands of Radio Shack. Optimus is great too.

62. Pullman Company. The brand may have become genericized, but the concept is good. A luxury railcar that contracts with a passenger railroad.

63. Eastern Airlines. Frank Borman, Eddie Rickenbacker and Laurence Rockefeller's airline is missed.

64. General Cinema. Had way cool graphics, and were pretty hip for a theater chain.

65. Hofheimer’s. A regional shoe store based in Norfolk, Virginia; it could have been Nordstrom of the east.

66. Eaton’s. Sears should not have killed off this great Canadian store.

67. Mutual Radio. The original home of Larry King should come back as King’s last royal act. Re-brand a second CNN radio feed as Mutual.

68. Esso. Exxon is fine, but a little Esso would be fun. Hate to have to travel to U.K. to see an Esso. But you do.

69. J. Lyons Tea Rooms. Those great tea rooms of England. Not American but we love it.

70. Furness Withy & Co. The best steamers to Bermuda.

71. Pennsylvania Railroad. Pretty hard to bring back a railroad when some other company owns the track, but if Amtrak is pulled apart, it could be brought back like the U.K., where all the great railroad names returned after British Rail was broken up.

72. Abraham & Straus. The great Brooklyn department store founded by Abraham Abraham is now a Macy’s. No more. Crying indignity for Brooklyn.

73. Tinee Giant. A way cool regional convenience store brand in Norfolk, Virginia, one of many that have disappeared.

74. TWA. American would do well to bring TWA back as a luxury brand, or at least keep the name alive as a commuter brand instead of American Eagle, which means nothing.

75. Marshall Field's. This will be a case study like New Coke.

76. Bonwit Teller. We read that a Chicago group is working on brining this store back.

77. Pathé News. Fox News came back; why not Pathe?

78. Peck & Peck. The most special New York department chain, once an adjective, ought to live as a boutique or store brand, at least. (Update: It's back at Stein Mart as a store brand.)

79. Cape Dory Yachts.
They were the first big mass producers of sailboats. While the molds have been purchased by other boatyards, that is not the same thing as having the brand back.

80. Garfinkel's. This was the quintessential District of Columbia society department store for wedding gifts and evening gowns. There is no reason why it is not around.

81. British Seagull. The Austin Healy or Barbour of outboard motors. Sadly, E.U. meddling made the two-stroke engines obsolete, but there is thankfully a cult following keeping the brand alive.

82. Klix Dog Candy. No sugar in these dog biscuits.

83. Sylvan Seal Milk. Once a northeast brand of milk.

84. Bond Bread. Once a sponsor of top TV shows.

85. Cliquot Club Ginger Ale. It was made with "real Jamaica ginger." If we brought it back, we would say that it was made with REAL JAMAICAN and let drinkers guess what it was laced with!

86. Sunshine Hi Ho crackers. Great. No reason not around.

87. Sunshine Lemon Coolers. And don't forget the Sunshine Hydrox. Don't worry that the name became pejorative, they were good! Sunshine name survives on those cheese crackers, Cheez-its.

88. Blippo Choo Choo by Remco. This toy was a sort of Super Mario looking guy who ran a train and inside, were Erector set-like building blocks for kids.

89. Toni hair care products. While Toni Silkwave is still sold, other brands from this company, once a subsidiary of Gillette, are no longer found.

90. Royal Drene. Won't dry hair out!

91. Screaming Mimi, the only rifle that shoots a grenade you can hear.

92. NBC Radio. Of course, there is still an NBC radio feed, but the network could easily reinvent itself for a modern age, using new programming ideas related to NBC content. Hey GE. Get Cameron Swayze from WCBS and let it rip! There is even an NBC Monitor fan page.

93. Great Shakes. A great product by the late General Foods. BrandlandUSA gets lots of hits of folks looking for Great Shakes.

94. Desilu. The Lucy hit studio. Screen Gems came back. So did United Artists. And while we are at it, what happened to MTM, the studio that produced Mary Tyler Moore, Bob Newhart and Remington Steele?

95. Selchow & Righter. They made Scrabble and Parcheesi. While the games are still around, we don't see the game brand around.

96. Rustler Steak House. And Ranch House. There are dozens of steak house brands of the 1970s. Love to visit some of them. Some weren't that good. Others, like York, we never really knew. But Rustler? That was GREAT.

97. Branch Cabell. One of many great regional brokerage brands. This one was from Richmond. They became RBC Dain Rausher. Frankly, we spelled RAURSHER wrong but we are so annoyed that they got rid of the brand that we don't even care to Google them.

98. Checker Cars. They were great cabs. And they were sensible cars for folks who had big families.

99. High's Ice Cream. A great brand from Norfolk, Virginia with operations in the Southeast. Had ice cream shops too. They never should have disappeared. They ought to have High's as a regional store brand sold at supermarket chains like Farm Fresh and Ukrop's, which are both based in Virginia.

100. Rexall. A great brand of pharmacy. The signs are still up everywhere. Go to it.

101. GTE. Certainly that name recognition is still there. "GEE. No G-T-E."

Read more about old brands at


  1. Anonymous7:54 pm

    What about Willys Jeep.

  2. Anonymous9:10 pm

    I would like to see Kraft Fudgies.

  3. Anonymous10:14 pm

    Having been born and raised in NE Ohio, I grew up on: Sohio, May Company, Higbee's, Fisher-Fazio, Pick-N-Pay (later Finast), Gray Drug, Revco, Cleveland Trust, National City Bank (about to become PNC) and especially Lawson's. Say what you will about Cleveland - most everything's negative - but these were the icons that made the city and metro area what it was. We somehow also need to persuade WTAM-AM 1100 to change back to 3WE!

  4. Anonymous10:58 am

    This is great stuff. I live in Wisconsin (just moved here). are there local wisconsin brands that were popular that don't exist anymore. I saw a brand called Red Dot potato chips in the Historical society that for its time was amazingly innovative.

  5. Anonymous6:11 am

    Often we forget the little guy, the SMB, in our discussions of the comings and goings of the Internet marketing industry. Sure there are times like this when a report surfaces talking about their issues and concerns but, for the most part, we like to talk about big brands and how they do the Internet marketing thing well or not so well.

  6. Anonymous1:48 pm

    I'm looking to bring back an old brand name and "re-use" it as my name didn't pass SEVERAL attempts at the hands of the trademark board. Back to the drawing board. Can some of these names be used?

  7. David3:16 pm

    Richfield. Arco just doesn't have the same ring.

  8. Anonymous7:19 pm

    Under #53 Digital Computers, perhaps the brand name you were trying to think of was "Digital Equipment Corporation", or DEC, of Maynard, Massachusetts, now splintered into half a dozen pieces and sold off to competitors?

    1. I too would surmise Digital Equipment Corporation. This company pioneered so many of the technologies that we use today including large scale integration of processors, shared CPU's and shared devices, and of course ethernet. DEC was bought by Compaq and Compaq bought by Hewlett-Packard. DEC was a wonderland of hardware & software technology to work in (before the layoffs started, then it fell to pieces). For many years DEC was the world's #2 computer manufacturer. It's frustrating to see many computer history documentaries on TV go from "Big IBM computers" to PC's without a mention of the mini-computer years...which brought us out of the data center to begin with. Major rivals were Data General, HP, Wang, & Prime among others along the "Technology Highway"

  9. Robinson's-May, a really good department was Bullocks and Buffums. I remember going into a Buffums with my Grandmother, the store was magnificent; emerald green carpeting, etc. I was about 3 when I was last in on and that was about 1985-86. I worked at Robinsons-May for a bit until it closed for a Macy's. On a side note; I would like to try a Billy Beer, or a Tab Cola.

  10. Anonymous3:57 am

    Farrells Ice Cream Shops, with their 'hog trough' double banana split, the Gibson Girl giant dessert glass, and the hot fudge nutty nutty...god, wonderful stuff...Rax Roast beef restaurants, better than Arbys...

  11. Here's a few more great things you could find in 1962 that you can't today:
    H. M. Gousha maps and atlases (always better than Rand McNally, in my opinion), Puss’n Boots cat food, Kodachrome film – just ended production and sold last roll, Burgermeister beer.

  12. Screaming Yellow Zonkers! They were my favorite popcorn snack. The screwball text on the old boxes was also a blast. I've hunted these down through 3-4 manufactures over the years, but this time it appears they're gone for good.

  13. JohnF4:59 pm

    Actually there are Esso stations in Canada. I think Exxon stations are mainly or only in US.

  14. Anonymous10:46 pm

    We have Esso in Canada. No Exxon at all. You don't have to go all the way to the UK.

  15. Anonymous7:58 pm

    Rexall branded products can be bought at Dollar General.

  16. Anonymous11:56 am

    Kress is still in business in Puerto Rico. They even created a division called "Kress Kids" in the early 1980s.

  17. Thanks for suggesting so many beer brands!! My best friend is very fond of beer and he will be very happy when I will suggest him these brands. Thanks for posting.

  18. Anonymous12:30 am

    The brands I miss...1) State Line Potato Chips great chips, great slogan:'Don't get Wise, get State Line 2) G. Fox New England's Department Store 3)Sage-Allen another department store in Connecticut 4)Ames Department Stores along with Bradlees, Caldor and Zayre big chains in the 80s 5)Howard Johnson's

  19. Anonymous12:37 am

    I forgot four more brands, A.C. Gilbert American Flyer trains and erector sets, Chipmunk Sailboats a small Sunfish type boat, New Haven Railroad the railroad of Southern New England and Polar Bear snowmobiles a small snowmobile manufacturer.


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