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Ten Things You Might Not Know About Experian

December 06, 2013 by Gary Stockton


Many of you are probably aware that Experian has been a leading independent company since it was launched in October of 2006 on the London Stock Exchange. But did you know Experian’s roots go way back to the early 1800’s? Our company roots date back to as early as 1803 in England and 1897 in the United States. Here are ten things you might not know about Experian.

Experian’s origins go as far back as 1803 when the first credit society was formed in London when a group of tailors joined forces to swap information about customers who failed to settle their debts.
Jim Chilton formed one of the first credit associations in Dallas in 1897. By 1936 the Chilton Company operated five tele-autograph machines which transmitted handwritten information using a telephone line. Chilton Company would be acquired 91 years later by TRW in 1988.
In 1901 the Cleveland Cap Screw Company was founded in Ohio – it was the very beginning of TRW, one of Experian’s former parent companies. Cleveland Cap was a leading manufacturer of tire valves in the US in the early 1900's, renamed Thompson Products in 1926 and becoming a major supplier to the air force during the Second World War.
In 1953 Ramo-Wooldridge Corporation was established in the US by Simon Ramo and Dean Wooldridge as a specialist electronics business. Ramo and Woolridge would appear on the cover of TIME magazine in 1957 for their aerospace work.
In 1958 TRW was formed when Ramo-Woolridge merged with Thompson Products.
In a 1961 lecture, Simon Ramo, the “R” in TRW, predicted the ‘cashless society’. He could foresee how information technology could change the way people lived.
In 1964 the Association of Credit Bureaus in the U.S. conducted the first studies into the application of computer technologies into credit reporting.
In 1968 TRW entered the credit reporting industry by buying the San Francisco based Credit Data Corporation.
In 1986, TRW became the first U.S. credit bureau to cover all 50 US states.
Signifact was a name TRW was considering after the Information Services Division, TRW IS&S was spun off in 1996. At the time TRW wanted to fully separate their automotive and aerospace businesses from the credit reporting business. The spin-off meant the credit reporting group could no longer operate as TRW. On July 17th 1996 the name Experian was announced.


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