The Real History of the Standard Oil Company Part III

Vindicating Capitalism: The Real History of the Standard Oil Company (Part III: The Missing Context of Standard’s Rise to Supremacy)
by Alex Epstein
August 31, 2011

[Editor Note: This five-part series by Mr. Epstein revisits the Standard Oil Trust controversy on this the 100th anniversary of the breakup of the Trust. Part I reviewed the flawed textbook interpretation of Rockefeller’s accomplishment; Part II sketched the rise of Standard Oil and defended the free-market practice of rebating.]

The 1870s was a decade of gigantic growth for the Standard Oil Company. In 1870, it was refining fifteen hundred barrels per day—a huge amount for the time. By January 1871, it had achieved a 10 percent market share, making it the largest player in the industry. By 1873, it had one-third of the market share, was refining ten thousand barrels a day and had acquired twenty-one of the twenty-six other firms in Cleveland. By the end of the decade, it had achieved a 90 percent market share. (MasterResource)

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