North American Company
The North American Company was a holding company
Holding company
A holding company is a company or firm that owns other companies' outstanding stock. It usually refers to a company which does not produce goods or services itself; rather, its purpose is to own shares of other companies. Holding companies allow the reduction of risk for the owners and can allow...

 incorporated in New Jersey
New Jersey
New Jersey is a state in the Northeastern and Middle Atlantic regions of the United States. , its population was 8,791,894. It is bordered on the north and east by the state of New York, on the southeast and south by the Atlantic Ocean, on the west by Pennsylvania and on the southwest by Delaware...

 on June 14, 1890, and controlled by Henry Villard
Henry Villard
Henry Villard was an American journalist and financier who was an early president of the Northern Pacific Railway....

, to succeed to the assets and property of the Oregon and Transcontinental Company
Oregon and Transcontinental Company
The Oregon and Transcontinental Company was a 19th-century holding company in the United States, organized by Henry Villard in 1881 to control the Northern Pacific Railroad and Oregon Railway and Navigation Company. In 1890, it became the North American Company, which was incorporated in New Jersey...

. It owned public utilities and public transport
Public transport
Public transport is a shared passenger transportation service which is available for use by the general public, as distinct from modes such as taxicab, car pooling or hired buses which are not shared by strangers without private arrangement.Public transport modes include buses, trolleybuses, trams...

 companies and was broken up in 1946, largely to comply with the Public Utility Holding Company Act of 1935
Public Utility Holding Company Act of 1935
The Public Utility Holding Company Act of 1935 , , also known as the Wheeler-Rayburn Act, was a law that was passed by the United States Congress to facilitate regulation of electric utilities, by either limiting their operations to a single state, and thus subjecting them to effective state...


Its headquarters were at 60 Broadway
Broadway (New York City)
Broadway is a prominent avenue in New York City, United States, which runs through the full length of the borough of Manhattan and continues northward through the Bronx borough before terminating in Westchester County, New York. It is the oldest north–south main thoroughfare in the city, dating to...

 in Manhattan
Manhattan is the oldest and the most densely populated of the five boroughs of New York City. Located primarily on the island of Manhattan at the mouth of the Hudson River, the boundaries of the borough are identical to those of New York County, an original county of the state of New York...



By 1940, North American was a US$2.3 billion holding company heading up a pyramid of by then 80 companies. It controlled ten major direct subsidiaries in eight of which it owned at least 79%. Three of the ten were major holding companies:
  • Union Electric Company
    Union Electric Company
    The Union Electric Company of Missouri was an electric power utility first organized in 1902. As one of the S&P 500 largest companies in the United States, in 1997 its holding company merged with a smaller neighboring utility, Central Illinois Public Service Company through its holding company,...

     of St. Louis, Missouri
    St. Louis, Missouri
    St. Louis is an independent city on the eastern border of Missouri, United States. With a population of 319,294, it was the 58th-largest U.S. city at the 2010 U.S. Census. The Greater St...

  • Washington Railway and Electric Company
    Washington Railway and Electric Company
    The Washington Railway and Electric Company was the larger of the two major street railway companies in Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States, until 1933. At that time, it was merged with its main competitor, the Capital Traction Company, to form the Capital Transit Company...

  • North American Light and Power Company
    North American Light and Power Company
    The North American Light and Power Company was a utility holding company formed in South Bend, Indiana and run since 1916 by its President, Clement Studebaker, Jr., of the family famous for the Studebaker automobiles. The utility company remained a major subsidiary of the North American Company,...

Four of the ten direct subsidiaries were operating companies:
  • Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company
  • Pacific Gas and Electric
  • Detroit Edison Company
  • Wisconsin Electric Power Company

The remaining three of the ten direct subsidiaries were:
  • North American Utility Securities Corporation
  • West Kentucky Coal Company
  • 60 Broadway Building Corporation

At various times during its existence, North American also owned substantial interests in these other companies as well:
  • Milwaukee Electric Railway and Light Company: Formed in 1896 as a subsidiary of the North American Company. By 1929, it operated within North American Company along with Wisconsin Electric Power Company, which became the consolidated name of the two operating companies in 1938. It now belongs to Wisconsin Energy Corporation
    Wisconsin Energy Corporation
    Wisconsin Energy Corporation , based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin serves more than 1.1 million electric customers in Wisconsin and Michigan's Upper Peninsula and more than 1 million natural gas customers in Wisconsin through its utility subsidiary, We Energies...


  • Capital Transit: Formed on December 1, 1933 in Washington, D.C.
    Washington, D.C.
    Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

     from merger of Washington Railway, Capital Traction, and Washington Rapid Transit. North American owned it through its holding company subsidiary, Washington Railway and Electric Company
    Washington Railway and Electric Company
    The Washington Railway and Electric Company was the larger of the two major street railway companies in Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States, until 1933. At that time, it was merged with its main competitor, the Capital Traction Company, to form the Capital Transit Company...

    , which in turn was the holding company for the merged lines, owning 50% of Capital Transit.
  • Potomac Electric Power Company
    Potomac Electric Power Company
    The Potomac Electric Power Company, known as Pepco, is a public utility supplying electric power to the city of Washington, D.C., and to surrounding communities in Maryland...

  • Cincinnati Gas & Electric Company
  • Union Light, Heat and Power of Covington, Kentucky
    Covington, Kentucky
    -Demographics:As of the census of 2000, there were 43,370 people, 18,257 households, and 10,132 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,301.3 people per square mile . There were 20,448 housing units at an average density of 1,556.5 per square mile...

  • Northern Natural Gas Company
  • Butte Electric and Power Company
  • Laclede Gas Company
    Laclede Gas Company
    Laclede Gas Company is the largest natural gas distribution utility in Missouri, serving approximately 632,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in the city of St. Louis and ten counties in eastern Missouri...

  • Edison Securities Corporation
  • Wired Radio, Inc. (Muzak
    Muzak Holdings LLC is a company based in metro Fort Mill, South Carolina, United States, just outside of Charlotte, North Carolina. Founded in 1934, Muzak Holdings is best known for distribution of background music to retail stores and other companies....

  • North American Edison Company

North American Company was broken up by the Securities and Exchange Commission, following the United States Supreme Court decision of April 1, 1946.

Dow Jones Industrial Average

North American's stock was one of the twelve component stocks of the May 1896 original Dow Jones Industrial Average
Dow Jones Industrial Average
The Dow Jones Industrial Average , also called the Industrial Average, the Dow Jones, the Dow 30, or simply the Dow, is a stock market index, and one of several indices created by Wall Street Journal editor and Dow Jones & Company co-founder Charles Dow...

, but it was replaced later that same year. In 1928, when the number of stocks comprising the DJIA was increased to 30, North American was re-added to the list but was replaced again in 1930. The two periods when it was a component were:
  • May 26, 1896 – August 26, 1896, replaced by U. S. Cordage
  • October 1, 1928 – January 29, 1930, replaced by Johns-Manville
    Johns Manville is an American corporation based in Denver, Colorado that manufactures insulation, roofing materials, and engineered products. The stock was included in the Dow Jones Industrial Average from January 29, 1930 to August 27, 1982 when it was replaced by American Express. Berkshire...

See also

  • John I. Beggs
    John I. Beggs
    John Irvin Beggs was an American entrepreneur, industrialist and financier associated closely with the electric utility boom under Thomas Edison. He was also associated with Milwaukee, St. Louis, Missouri and other regional rail and interurban trolley systems...

     (former director)
  • Clement Studebaker, Jr.
    Clement Studebaker, Jr.
    Clement Studebaker, Jr. was the son of Clement Studebaker who, with his brother Henry, founded the business which became the Studebaker Corporation— the world's largest horse-drawn wagon manufacturer and the only one to successfully progress to gasoline-powered vehicles. Clement Jr...

    (chairman of North American Light and Power Co)

External links

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