The R&D Hall of Fame: Which companies got elected?

When it comes to corporations that excel in research and development productivity, a consistent philosophy is a big part of the formula for success. The just-unveiled 2014 CNBC RQ 50 is a new annual list that identifies the market's smartest R&D spenders—those companies that don't just spend big on research and development but spend in a way that maximizes the potential return on innovation to shareholders.

The data for the RQ 50 actually goes back 25 years, and this history has allowed CNBC to supplement the 2014 RQ 50 with a deep dive into recent R&D history, using the RQ 50 data to elect an R&D Hall of Fame. It's not an easy list to make: Only 10 of this year's 50 made the Hall of Fame. Changes in senior leadership of companies and booms and busts in business cycles can cause a firm to lose its R&D focus. There are also few firms that have enough scale to constantly stay ahead of the curvein R&D productivity.

Of the 280 unique companies in the RQ 50 over the past 25 years, there are 106 that appear in five years or more; 150 are on the list for three years or less. There are only 28 companies that appear in the RQ 50 for 10 or more years—the R&D Hall of Fame. Here they are:

—By CNBC's John Schoen