John D Rockefeller is one of the most famous businessmen in history. But how did he get started? This blog post tells the story of how Rockefeller got his start in the oil business.
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How John D Rockefeller Started His Business
John D Rockefeller was an American businessman who founded the Standard Oil Company in 1870. He is widely considered to be one of the most influential figures in American history, and his wealth was legendary. Rockefeller started his business with a small investment from his father, and he quickly grew it into a massive success. He is known for his cutthroat business practices, and he used his immense wealth to buy up smaller oil companies and create a monopoly. Today, Rockefeller is remembered as one of the richest men in history, and his story is an American legend.
The Early Years of John D Rockefeller
John D Rockefeller was born in Richford, New York, on July 8, 1839, the second child of six born to William Avery Rockefeller and Eliza Davison. William was a “pitch man” skilled in the art of persuasion, while Eliza stayed at home to care for the children. John D’s father instilled in him the qualities of hard work, frugality, and honesty—qualities that would serve him well in later life.
The family moved to Strongsville, Ohio, in 1853, where John D attended public schools and worked part-time on his father’s farm. In 1855, at the age of 16, he began working as a bookkeeper for Hewitt & Tuttle, a produce commission firm in Cleveland. Two years later he went into business for himself as a commission merchant dealing in hay and wheat. In 1860 Rockefeller formed a partnership with Maurice Clark and Mark Hanna (later U.S. senator and campaign manager for President William McKinley), to form Clark & Rockefeller. The firm quickly prospered by shipping grain across Lake Erie to Buffalo, New York.
The Standard Oil Company
In 1865, John D Rockefeller started his business with a small oil refinery in Cleveland, Ohio. By 1870, his company, Standard Oil Company, was the largest oil refiner in the United States. In 1882, Rockefeller formed a trust that controlled Standard Oil and its competitor companies. The trust was illegal under U.S. law, but it was not shut down until 1911.
The Oil Trust
In 1870, Rockefeller established Standard Oil as an Ohio partnership. The following year, he bought out his partners and became the sole owner. In 1882, Rockefeller, Henry Flagler, Charles Pratt, and other investors formed the Standard Oil Trust. The new company had 7 stockholders who served as trustees. Rockefeller owned 34% of the trusts shares. He served as president of Standard Oil Trust until it was dissolved in 1892 following passage of the Sherman Antitrust Act.
The Rockefellers and Standard Oil
In 1865, Rockefeller and a group of investors bought a controlling interest in a Cleveland, Ohio, refinery. Standard Oil was born. The company name was later changed to the Standard Oil Trust. In 1882, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the trust violated federal antitrust laws and ordered it to be dismantled. Rockefeller then reorganized Standard Oil into a holding company, the Standard Oil Company (now ExxonMobil), which had 34 affiliates in 22 states by the early 1890s.
The Legacy of John D Rockefeller
John D Rockefeller was an American business magnate and philanthropist. He is widely considered the wealthiest American of all time, and the richest person in modern history. Rockefeller was born into a large family in upstate New York and was raised a devout Baptist. His father was a traveling salesman who struggled to make a living. The family moved several times before settling in Cleveland, Ohio. Rockefeller had little formal education, but he was a quick learner and soon developed a strong work ethic.
At the age of 16, Rockefeller went to work for his father’s wholesale grocery business. He soon took over the operation and expanded it into a successful enterprise. In 1863, Rockefeller partnered with another businessman to form Standard Oil, an oil refining company. Standard Oil quickly became one of the largest companies in the world, and Rockefeller became one of the richest men in history.
Throughout his life, Rockefeller was known for his philanthropy. He founded several major charities and donated large sums of money to many causes. He also helped to establish several prominent educational institutions, including the University of Chicago and what is now Rockefeller University.