glyph 548: business, success, growth . competition, monopoly ... economic history of the United States (USA) . John D. Rockefeller (JDR) . efficient use of capital & labor . continual reduction of costs . constant attention . entrepreur, entrepreneurship, business leadership . how to speak to government panels


Standard Oil: How It Succeeded and Became Very Large

explained by John D. Rockefeller, December 30, 1899

Taken from "'Rockefeller's Standard Oil Proved That We Needed Anti-Trust Laws,' by Lawrence W. Reed, President of FEE":

In the midst of chaos emerged young John D. Rockefeller. An exceptionally hard-working and thrifty man, Rockefeller transformed his early interest in oil into a partnership in the refinery stage of the business in 1865.

Five years later, Rockefeller formed the Standard Oil Company with 4 per cent of the refining market. Less than thirty years later, he reached that all-time high of 90 per cent. What accounts for such stunning success?

On December 30, 1899, Rockefeller was asked that very question before a governmental investigating body called the Industrial Commission. He replied:

'I ascribe the success of the Standard to its consistent policy to make the volume of its business large through the merits and cheapness of its products. It has spared no expense in finding, securing, and utilizing the best and cheapest methods of manufacture. It has sought for the best superintendents and workmen and paid the best wages. It has not hesitated to sacrifice old machinery and old plants for new and better ones. It has placed its manufactories at the points where they could supply markets at the least expense. It has not only sought markets for its principal products, but for all possible by-products, sparing no expense in introducing them to the public. It has not hesitated to invest millions of dollars in methods of cheapening the gathering and distribution of oils by pipe lines, special cars, tank steamers, and tank wagons. It has erected tank stations at every important railroad station to cheapen the storage and delivery of its products. It has spared no expense in forcing its products into the markets of the world among people civilized and uncivilized. It has had faith in American oil, and has brought together millions of money for the purpose of making it what it is, and holding its markets against the competition of Russia and all the many countries which are producers of oil and competitors against American oil.'
February 13, 2015; edited/updated November 26, 2015

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