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Extra resources for John D. Rockefeller: Anointed with Oil (Oxford Portraits)
In return, Rockefeller also became a middleman for other refiners’ shipments, a first step toward taking over these rivals. These special arrangements would soon surface and raise outcries that baffled Rockefeller. Buyers bargained in many fields then, as today, and the biggest buyers usually got the best deals. But railroads had special legal privileges, Before turning 30, Rockefeller bought a big house on Cleveland’s swanky Euclid Avenue. But he chose the street’s less fashionable side— home, as the locals liked to say, not to nabobs but mere bobs.
Or perhaps John really had the shell of an oyster. Throughout the South ordeal, he was secretly making a pearl. He was not just pooling rival refiners but absorbing them into what economists call a horizontal monopoly: a company so dominant as to stifle competition in one layer of an industry, such as the refiners who linked oil’s producers, shippers, retailers, and other handlers. No one had monopolized as rich a layer as refining before, but perhaps no one had ever matched Rockefeller’s daring.
He also stayed close to his workers and helped them buy stakes in the trust. “I would 61 JOHN D. ROCKEFELLER Image Not Available Rockefeller saw Standard Oil as a trailblazer, leading the world to prosperity. Critics such as cartoonist Homer Davenport saw the trust and its many followers as savages, trampling rivals and razing democracy. 62 have every man a capitalist, every man, woman and child,” he would tell his biographer. Rockefeller helped employees from Cleveland find homes in Manhattan and finally became a legal resident there himself.