There's a lot of talk about "Dividend Aristocrats" - those companies that boast the very notable achievement of having paid out an uninterrupted, increasing dividend for the last 25 years. But there may be achievements more noteworthy in the dividend- paying world than inclusion amongst mere aristocrats. For instance, some companies have a track record of regular payouts for more than 50 years. Below we run through a number of those companies - corporations that have not only withstood the test of time, but actually offer investors something worthy for the taking. (For more, see Is Your Dividend At Risk?)

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Integrys Energy Group (NYSE:TEG) has paid a steady dividend for the last 51 years. Moreover, the dividend currently stands at an annual eye-popping 9.15%! And consider, too, that in the past 60 days the stock has tacked on 50% in value, rising from $19.44 to its current $29.36. Integrys is a utility holding company that operates in the natural gas and electricity fields, serving roughly two million commercial, industrial and residential customers in central Canada and the northern GreatLakes region. Integrys recently increased the dividend on its common stock by 1.5%.

Genuine Parts Company (NYSE:GPC) is engaged in the automotive replacement parts business, although it does a smaller trade in other, industrial replacement parts and office products. The yield on this dividend king is a very respectable 4.80%; the dividend has been paid to investors without interruption for 53 years. Recently, the stock has performed strongly, bouncing off lows of $24.93 to settle at $33.53 in the past 60 days.

But the grand-daddy of them all - the greatest of all time (with apologies to Muhammad Ali) - is Diebold (NYSE:DBD), a manufacturer and service provider of automated teller machines, voting equipment and security systems. Diebold has paid out increasing dividends to shareholders for a record 55 years and the current yield on the stock is 3.83%. Diebold stock has risen almost 50% in the last couple of months, from a 52-week low of $19.02 to $27.15. Diebold recently settled civil litigation stemming from an SEC investigation into the company's accounting practices, which should bode well for the future prospects of its share price.

The Bottom Line
Some companies don't receive a lot of mainstream press, but year in and year out they do a great deal of heavy lifting and pay investors handsomely for holding their shares. Fifty years of uninterrupted dividend increases speaks convincingly to management's ability to navigate the vicissitudes of the business world and of their appreciation for those who provide them with capital to grow. (Read more in our related article The Power of Dividend Growth and in our Stock-Picking Strategies tutorial.)

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