- CA – Computer Associates was founded in 1976 as Computer Associates International, Inc. by Charles Wang
- Cadillac – named after the 18th century French explorer Antoine Laumet de La Mothe, sieur de Cadillac, founder of Detroit, Michigan. Cadillac is a small town in the South of France.
- Canon – Originally (1933) Precision Optical Instruments Laboratory the new name (1935) derived from the name of the company’s first camera, the Kwanon, in turn named after the Japanese name of the Buddhist bodhisattva of mercy.
- Caterpillar – Originally Holt Tractor Co, merged with Best Tractor Co. in 1925. A company photographer exclaimed aloud of a Holt tractor that the tracks’ movement resembled a caterpillar moving along the ground. The name stuck.
- Casio – from the name of its founder, Kashio Tadao, who had set up the company Kashio Seisakujo as a subcontractor factory.
- Chevrolet – named after company co-founder Louis Chevrolet, a Swiss-born auto racer. The company was merged into General Motors in 1917 and survives only as a brand name.
- Chrysler – named after the company founder, Walter P. Chrysler.
- Cisco – short for San Francisco. It has also been suggested that it was “CIS-co”: Computer Information Services was the department at Stanford University where the founders worked.
- Citroën – named after André-Gustave Citroën (1878–1935), a French entrepreneur of Dutch descent. He was the fifth and last child of the Dutch Jewish diamond merchant Levie Citroen and Mazra Kleinmann (of Warsaw, Poland). The Citroen family moved to Paris from Amsterdam in 1873 where the name changed to Citroën.
- Coca-Cola – derived from the coca leaves and kola nuts used as flavoring. Coca-Cola creator John S. Pemberton changed the ‘K’ of kola to ‘C’ to make the name look better.
- Colgate-Palmolive – formed from a merger of soap manufacturers Colgate & Company and Palmolive-Peet. Peet was dropped in 1953. Colgate was named after William Colgate, an English immigrant, who set up a starch, soap and candle business in New York City in 1806. Palmolive was named for the two oils (Palm and Olive) used in its manufacture.
- Compaq – from computer and “pack” to denote a small integral object; or: Compatibility And Quality; or: from the company’s first product, the very compact Compaq Portable.
- COMSAT – a contraction of communications satellites. This American digital telecommunications and satellite company was founded during the era of U.S. President John F. Kennedy era to develop the technology.
- Corel – from Cowpland Research Laboratory, after the name of the company’s founder, Dr. Michael Cowpland.
- Cray – supercomputer company named after its founder, Seymour Cray.
- CVS – originally Consumer Value Stores. CEO Tom Ryan has said he now considers ‘CVS’ to stand for “Customer, Value, and Service”.
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