John D. Rockefeller (1839 – 1937)

John D. Rockefeller

1839 On the 8th of July John D. Rockefeller was born in New York, USA, within a German family origin. He was the first American tycoon of oil. He created a monopoly and made fortune with Standard Oil Company ensuring cheap gasoline for people and gave millions of dollar for charity.

1853 His family moved to Cleveland, in the Midwest of USA, when Rockefeller was 13.

1856 He gave up to school and after graduating a business course of three months he started to work as an accountant in Cleveland.

1859 He launched his first business, grain business broker and other assets. He worked hardly, had a simple life saving money (looking more like the mother, a pious and God-fearing woman, than like his father, an untrustworthy man, nicknamed “Bill Devil”) and became active member of Baptist Church. Meanwhile the first oil well was drilled in Titusville, in the West of Pennsylvania so giving birth to oil industry. Cleveland became an important refining centre and Rockefeller noticed quickly the potential of this business. Oil became his business.

1862 He built a refinery in Cleveland and in less than two years it became the biggest in that area. He bought the shares owned by his shareholders and the business increased quickly because of kerosene demand growth which was used for lighting.

1870 He founded Standard Oil Company; at the beginning his brother was the shareholder and then two colleagues. Oil must have been transported and Rockefeller defeated his rivals getting preferential prices from railroad companies, then he merged many companies into one called Southern Improving Company trying aggressively to eliminate competition.

1872 He had enough power and wealth in order to defeat and gobblin 22 of 26 competitors during so-called “Carnage in Cleveland” through Standard Oil Company, which had become a holding. Rockefeller gradually took control over the entire industry – manufacture, refining, storage and transportation. He widely thought and acted the same being very skilful.

1881 Standard Oil Company shareholders and of their affiliates established a “trust” led by a council consisting of nine people.

1883 Standard Oil had got a total monopoly over American oil market – it owned almost 75% and controlled almost 90%.

1890 Alarmed, American Congress started an investigation and adopted a law against the trust, Sherman, in order to regulate precisely the situations which implied the existence of some monopolies, like Rockefeller’s. But his trust did not exist in papers so it could not be proved any type of unlawfulness.

1891 The trust was dissolved but the council of the nine continued to control operations of affiliate companies.

1896 Rockefeller began to spend a part of time and money for charity.

1899 He united all affiliate companies into one holding – Standard Oil Company (New Jersey).

1911 Because the fuel demand was increasing profits also grew and Supreme Court ordered the splitting of mother-company from New Jersey. The thirty-eight companies controlled by this were turned into distinctive firms. Rockefeller remained president of Standard Oil Company until this year but he withdrew from the current management of it since 1896. He dedicated the rest of his life to charity. Avoiding fame, like in business, he founded Rockefeller Institute of Medical Researches, General Council for Education and Rockefeller Foundation. He also ensured necessary fund to help University in Chicago.

1928 He established a relief fund for children, in the memory of his wife.

1937 On the 23rd of May he died at Ormond Beach, Florida, USA being 97 years old. “I have also thought that I have the duty almost religious to take everything I can and to give everything I can”.[1]



1 - John D. Rockefeller, - accessed on 10.18.2014

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