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Standard Oil: A Centennial Evaluation (Part I: John D. Rockefeller's entrepreneurial genius)

By Eric Lowe -- May 16, 2011

[Yesterday (May 15) was the 100th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court decision [Standard Oil Co. of New Jersey v. United States finding John D. Rockefeller’s company guilty of restraint of trade and monopolizing the petroleum industry. The court’s remedy was to affirm a lower court decree effectively dividing Standard Oil into several competing firmsdissolution of Standard Oil. This post, taken from Robert Bradley’s Oil, Gas and Government: The U.S. Experience, summarizes the manifold contributions of John D. Rockefeller to a fledgling, powerhouse industry. Documentation for the points and quotations below can be found on pp. 1089–1094.], 221 U.S. 1 (1911)]

A resume of the contributions of Standard Oil prior to its court-ordered dissolution in 1911 offers an illuminating glimpse into entrepreneurship, the market process, and consumer service therein.

Rockefeller and the management team at Standard Oil can be credited with accelerating the maturation of the kerosene age in petroleum.…