John D Rockefeller had been raised in the strictest Baptist faith, in the paternal farm near
Cleveland, Ohio. Greedy since his childhood, he used to buy candies wholesale to resell
them to his siblings at a profit. After mandatory school, he works at 16 as an accountant
for a grocer in Cleveland, giving the greatest satisfaction to his employer by his diligence.
He was the kind of accountant that saw everything and forgot nothing. Rockefeller did
not forget this early experiences when he came to run his own business
A very religious man, John D. Rockefeller thought that God would reward the chosen
ones. He had the frugal man's hatred for waste, disorder and middlemen. He did not like
public life and the only places where he was to be seen was his office, his house and the
Baptist church. His innate taste for secret was reinforced by the public's critic, and his
face was one of the least familiar in the Standard Oil Company.
He was never seen either in the oil regions. People began to bestow an suspicious
admiration on this man that nobody never saw but who seemed to control everything. The
result of this awe was to neutralize the common resistance efforts from the independents.
Rockefeller never smiled, except for an exceptionally profitable deal, and he decided
young that the oil business was his. With a calculating coldness and an enormous
determination he began very soon. In 1863 with and associate and a chemist, he builds
his first refinery in Cleveland, producing naphtha and kerosene. Reinvesting constantly
the profits and keeping costs and wages as low as possible, John D. Rockefeller grew
quickly his business.
Before Mr. Rockefeller took the totality of this industry in his iron hand, the price of oil
fluctuated wildly. It soared or fell quickly, depending on the market being flooded with
an abundant supply or starved by a strong demand. In 1859 for example, the crude oil
barrel was selling for $20 and two years later only for 52 cents .
.. Speculators bought
huge quantities of crude after an especially generous well (a
) had made the prices
go down (or
knocked the bottom out of the market,
in the colorful English of the oilmen)
and stored it in tanks, waiting for the prices to rise again. To invest in such a business
needed the temper of a gambler, which was not lacking to these men
In a first stage, Rockefeller devoted himself to the conquest of the better part of the
refineries. He did not stop at this almost perfect
horizontal concentration of the refining
business, though. He realized that by controlling the refining process, he was the master
of the whole industry, and worked from that point on to a vertical concentration to the
whole industry, taking over every stage of production, from extraction to retail, including
transport, research, marketing and even the manufacture of barrels. This was an
ambitious plan because of the fierce resistance of the staunchly independent producers,
and the great diversity of operations, but nevertheless he succeeded above all hopes. At