10 Jan: How Rockefeller Got Rich

On 10th January, 1870 John D. Rockefeller took his first steps towards becoming the world’s richest ever person by forming his company, Standard Oil.

He had arrived in the oil industry at a time of wild instability when oil refining was almost a cottage industry. Rockefeller quickly realised that if he had control over not just the refineries but also the output and distribution of refined oil he could keep prices as high as he liked – a mode of thinking that his critics and rivals declared monopolistic. 

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly discuss what Rockerfeller was imagining oil might be useful for given cars hadn’t been invented yet; reveal how he bankrupted his competitors; and explain why Winston Churchill turned down an invitation to write Rockerfeller’s biography… 

Further Reading:

• ‘Biography of John D. Rockefeller, America’s First Billionaire’ (Thought Co, 2019): https://www.thoughtco.com/john-d-rockefeller-p2-1779821 

• ‘John D. Rockefeller Was the Richest Person To Ever Live. Period’ (TSmithsonian Magazine, 2017): https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/john-d-rockefeller-richest-person-ever-live-period-180961705/

• ‘William Hague on William Pitt’ (Cambridge University, 2010): 

#1800s #US #Business