Three of Federal Express’ Logos used throughout their history

FedEx is an American mail-delivering company. The origin goes back to 1965 when a Yale undergraduate named Frederick W. Smith wrote a term paper that laid out the logistical challenges facing pioneering firms in the information technology industry. In the paper, he proposed a system specifically made to accommodate time-sensitive shipments. In 1971, Smith started the idea of a company that would make it easier to deliver items. Smith named the new company Federal Express because he believed the patriotic meaning of the word federal suggested a nationwide interest in economic activity.

FedEx founder Frederick W. Smith

  • April 17, 1973: After moving to Memphis, Tennessee to set up operations, Federal Express officially began operations. 
  • July, 1975: Their first profit was made. They set the standard for the express shipping industry it established. In the mid-1970s, the company led lobbying for air cargo deregulation, which was legislated in 1977. These changes allowed the company to use larger aircraft and helped with their growth. By the 1980s, Federal Express had been well established. Their growth rate was compounding at about 40% annually. This also meant that there were competitors trying to catch up. In fiscal year 1983, Federal Express reported one billion dollars in revenues, making American business history as the first company to reach that financial hallmark inside ten years of startup, free of mergers or acquisitions. 
  • 1984: Following their first acquisition, intercontinental operations began with service to Europe and Asia. The next year, Federal Express marked their first regular scheduled flight to Europe. 
  • 1988: The company initiated direct-scheduled cargo service to Japan. 
  • February 1989: Federal Express acquired Tiger International Inc. When integrating the Flying Tigers network on August 7, 1989, Federal Express became the world’s largest full-service, all-cargo airline. This acquisition included routes to 21 different countries, a fleet of Boeing 747s and 727s, facilities throughout the world, and Tigers’ expertise in international airfreight. 
  • 1994: Federal Express shortened their official name to “FedEx.” 
  • 1995: they were authorized to serve China through an acquisition from Evergreen International Airlines. Under this authority, it became the sole U.S.-based, all-cargo carrier with aviation rights to the world’s most populous nation. Its global reach has continued to expand into what is now an unsurpassed network, delivering to customers in more than 220 countries and territories. 
  • January 1998: FDX Corp., later changed to FedEx Corp., was formed after they acquired Caliber System Inc. They built on their express delivery service to create a more diversified corporation of different but related differences. Entering the new millennium, FedEx formed a new subsidiary named FedEx Corporate Services Inc. This created the process of transforming its technology and delivery services into a portfolio of shipping and business solutions. 
  • February 2004: FedEx acquired privately held Kinko’s Inc. and rebranded it as FedEx Kinko’s before again rebranding it as FedEx office in 2008.
  • September 2004: FedEx acquired Parcel Direct, a leading parcel consolidator that it later rebranded as FedEx Ground Economy (formerly FedEx SmartPost). This acquisition complemented a FedEx alliance with the U.S. Postal Service, providing customers in the e-commerce and catalog segments with a proven, cost-effective solution for low-weight, less time-sensitive residential shipments.