Almost synonymous with the name, Standard Oil

John Davison Rockefeller was born July 8, 1839, in Tioga, New York. After several moves, the family settled down in Strongsville, Ohio, near Cleveland. While a student in high school, he rented a room in the city and joined the local Baptist church, in which he later became a trustee. Leaving High school in 1855, He enrolled in Folson Mercantile College, for a six-month business course and shortly thereafter was working as a bookkeeper for a small firm of commision merchants and produce shippers.

In 1859, with saved and borrowed money, Rockefeller formed a partnership in the commission business with Maurice Clark. Concurrently, the first oil well was drilled in western Pennsylvania, and Cleveland soon became a major player in the booming new petroleum industry. In 1863, Rockefeller and Clark joined the oil business as refiners. With a new partner, Samuel Andrews, they built and operated an oil refinery under the name, Andrews, Clark & Co. In 1865, the partnership had grown to include five, who began to disagree on business management. They decided to sell the refinery to the highest bidder, who turned out to be non other than Rockefeller, who bought it for $72,000. He sold out his other interests and with Andrews formed Rockefeller and Andrews.

                        The Standard Oil Company

Spurred by the rapid increase in the use of kerosene, Rockefeller's financial interests increased as did the oil industry itself. In 1870, he organized The Standard Oil Company along with Andrews, brother William, Henry Flagler, and others. It had a capital of one million dollars. By 1872, Standard Oil was beginning to control the refinery industry by purchasing other refineries. Soon refining 29,000 barrels of crude oil a day, naturally they began manufacturing wooden barrels. Next came storage tanks, warehouses and plants, and in 1882, all it's properties were merged in to Standard Oil Trust. By the 1890's, Standard Oli owned three-fourths of the petroleum Business in the U.S. But here we lose sight of John D., if we continue to focus on Standard Oil. We begin to talk of antitrust trials, and monopolies and court cases, as per Microsoft. So, we'll leave that for other nodes.

At the ripe old age of 57, Rockefeller turned over the day-to-day operations and leadership to others at Standard Oil. He then began to focus on philanthropy, much like a later day mogul, Bill Gates. Amongst many other causes and foundations, in 1901, he founded the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research (now The Rockefeller University). From here, have come multitudes of cures, treatments, knowledge and achievements which have helped to revolutionize medicine and all related fields. In 1902, he established the General Education Board (GEB) for the, "promotion of education within the United States of America witout regard to race, sex or creed." Between then and 1965, the GEB distributed $325 million for the improvement of education. Again to list and describe his philanthropic foundations and causes could take a book, so I won't.

Having married Laura Spelman in 1864, they had five children--four daughters and a son, John D. Jr. (1874-1960), who carried on his philanthropic ways. In the 1870's, Rockefeller spent much time in New York City and in 1884, bought a large brownstone at 4 West 54th Street and moved his family there. As he grew older, he spent several months each year at either Lakewood, New Jersey, or Ormond Beach, Florida. It was here, at The Casements, his Ormond Beach home, where he died on the morning of May 23, 1937. He was 97 years old.


John D. Rockefeller and Economic Social Darwinism

John Davison Rockefeller was born in 1937, at his family's farm in Richford, New York. His family eventually moved to a farm near Cleveland, Ohio. He was raised as a Baptist during his childhood and religion became very important to him. Once Rockefeller left school, he became an accountant for a local grocer. His employer was extremely impressed and pleased by his knowledge of business and money. Throughout his life, Rockefeller was greedy. By 1859, with money he had saved and a loan from his father, he formed a commission business with a partner, Maurice B. Clark. Later that year, the first oil drill was used in Pennsylvania, forming the petroleum industry.

Cleveland eventually became a major city in the petroleum industry, and Rockefeller and Clark entered the business as oil refiners. With Samuel Andrews, a new partner, who had experience in oil refinery, they formed Andrews, Clark & Co. The partners (there were currently five) had disagreements in 1865 and decided to sell the company to the highest bidder. Rockefeller bought the company for $72,500 and, along with Andrews, created Rockefeller & Andrews.

In 1870, he organized The Standard Oil Company. By 1872, Standard Oil controlled nearly every firm in Cleveland. During its heyday, Standard Oil controlled pipelines, cars, tankers, and groceries along with the main components required to refine oil. Rockefeller showed no compassion as he slowly eliminated nearly all competition from his region. His employees worked long days for low wages, and his competitors were either purchased or driven out of business. He was not concerned with the well-being of anyone else in or with ties to the oil industry.

In 1882, Standard Oil merged with Standard Oil Trust. The capital of the new company was $70 million dollars. Ten years later, the Standard Oil trust was disbanded by a court decision in Ohio. Standard Oil controlled nearly three-fourths of the United States' petroleum industry in the 1890's. Rockefeller retired from active leadership in 1896, but reserved the title of president of Standard Oil until 1911.

During his reign, Rockefeller used many underhanded techniques to stay at the top of his industry. He required that employees of Standard Oil remain silent on the subject of what they earned and the company's profits. He was also known to use bribery and even sabotage when he felt it necessary. Rockefeller seemingly preferred to control things from the ground up, by owning or controlling every aspect of his industry.

In 1872, Rockefeller helped created the South Improvement Company. This company was used in a scheme to fix railroad rates for Rockefeller's competitors, giving members of the South Improvement company large rebates from the expensive shipping charges. Rockefeller required railroads who wanted to work with Standard Oil to give him detailed reports on all of his competitor's good which were transported. He also hired spies to ensure that the railroads were using the fixed prices set by the South Improvement Company.

Rockefeller bought United Pipelines in 1872. He soon saw the value of the low-priced transportation, and, by 1876, he controlled one half of all existing pipeline. With help from his ties in the railroad business, he bought out his main competitor in the transportation business, Empire Transportation Company. After he bought Empire Transportation, he controlled nearly all of the pipelines in America. However, in 1879, independent oil companies in Pennsylvania created the Tidewater, a joint project to build pipelines, which they would own and control. Rockefeller began discrediting Tidewater, as his men secretly bought stock in the company. He took control of Tidewater in 1882, and Rockefeller then controlled all of America's pipelines.

His control of the pipelines gave Rockefeller many advantages. During oversupplies of crude oil, he could easily dictate the price he wished to pay. The oilmen would either sell to him at low rates, or earn nothing at all as their oil spilled to the ground. Rockefeller's foremost goal, however, was to make as much money as possible. This led to price wars with competitors. Since Rockefeller could set the prices of his expenses on nearly all aspects of the oil industry, competitors in a target area stood no chance against Standard Oil. Rockefeller knew that he needed to set prices, on a global scale, as high as he could without drawing new competition. He set his prices high, but not too high.

In 1890, Congress passed the Sherman Antitrust Act. The act forbade abusive monopolies and restraining trade. This obviously presented a problem to the Standard Oil Company, which was a blatantly abusive monopoly. In 1911, the United States Supreme Court found Standard Oil to be in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act and ordered the Standard Oil Company (New Jersey) to break ties with 33 of its associates. This ultimately killed the Standard Oil Company's monopoly. Rockefeller was left to retire to Florida, where he eventually passed away. During his life, he donated a huge amount of his profits to churches and many other charitable organizations which he formed.

John D. Rockefeller was born on July 8, 1839 in a farm close to Cleveland, Ohio. Rockefeller was extremely religious and believed God would repay those men who deserved it. He contained a lust for money since he was a child. Rockefeller was schooled for three years and then set out to earn his fortune. His working career started when he worked as an accountant at the age of 16. He learned many things about business that he would use later in his own company. Rockefeller disliked public attention, waste and disorder. He never seemed like a happy man but only when he made a profitable deal.

Rockefeller’s business, the Standard Oil Company, started in 1863 when he constructed a refinery along with Maurice B. Clark. It produced kerosene and naphtha. Like a true businessman, Rockefeller kept investing his dividends for even more profit. Rockefeller started up the latter of business here. This was also where he took one of his first steps in Social Darwinism. This would only excel. They soon formed a partnership with Samuel Andrews, an intelligent mechanist. In 1855 oil was found to contain many uses, which sparked a massive well digging spree. Investors and company executives made huge amounts of money. By 1862 oil wells were producing 3 million barrels a day. Before Rockefeller dominated the entire oil market, the oil prices were changing daily and drastically. He decided to totally control every aspect of production in order to make more of a profit. In order to disguise the massive dividends Standard Oil Company was making, they put it into capital goods. This, once again, illustrates the fact of his undying need to be at the top. It is a move to defend him against any competitors, or a fight of the survival of the fittest.

Employees of Rockefeller were required to give information concerning the transport of goods. He checked all areas of his business by planting spies with it. Rockefeller had a special relationship with railroad companies. Many times these companies gave information about rival companies to Rockefeller. These railroad companies also gave preferred rates to him, therefore increasing his profits once again. This immediately wiped out smaller companies who could not keep up with these inflating prices.

Rockefeller decided to put together all his resources and founded the Standard Oil Company in 1870. Two years later a leak went through oil regions that the oil companies were scheming with railroad companies. This was in fact true and Rockefeller’s company lost many workers to demonstrations for a while.

In 1872, oil pipelines came into practical use and Rockefeller bought into this immediately. In three years he owned half the pipelines in existence. In 1875 a revolutionary distillation process was found. This increased the output of oil from a refinery greatly. This resulted in Rockefeller’s decision to focus efforts on three major refineries. This was done to ensure the most money would be generated. In Rockefeller’s business he saved everything and always made a profit. When the price of oil would go down, he would buy barrels for cheaper in order to maintain a profit. Also in 1875, Rockefeller toured the country to find companies to merge with. This was done by convincing them they were about to join a business that would control the entire oil industry. He successfully joined 15 major refineries and 80 percent of the entire market. For the smaller companies he often swindled them out of raw materials or necessities of their business. This eventually led to an 1879 ruling that Rockefeller was conspiring to monopoly. After he controlled the refining industry he aimed his sights at the retailing industry. By 1881, his forty companies he had taken over were contained in an alliance. A colleague of Rockefeller’s suggested a trust to be formed. Dividends would be presented to shareholders of the trust. This was in all meaning of the word, a monopoly. In 1911 the Standard Oil Company was found to have been in violation of the 1890 Sherman Antitrust Act. This resulted in the breaking up of the Standard Oil Company.

In 1896 Rockefeller officially discontinued his position of running his company by daily activities. He proceeded to give his money away to worthy causes. Among these causes were the Baptist church, African-American churches and foreign Sunday school. He also contributed to the University of Chicago.

By the methods and means of accumulation of wealth, he is the true businessman as compared to every organization. He dominated the market in every way possible. In this way he was one step ahead of every other company as far as Social Darwinism is concerned. He was the best fit for survival.

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