JOHN D. ROCKEFELLER AND THE MODERN CORPORATION
John Davison Rockefeller, the head of Standard Oil, a multibil-lion-dollar enterprise, established an integrated system, of production and distribution. His most lasting contribution lay in the systems of professional management that integrated the many aspects of his business. Rockefeller's extraordinary drive and legendary attention to detail led his company to early suc-ces. An understanding of the history of the Standard Oil Company is essential to the understanding of the rise of the large corporation in the American economy. By 1913 Rockefeller amassed a fortune of $900 million and owned nearly all of the nation's oil industry.
John D. Rockefeller was born in 1839 on a small farm in upstate New York. In 1853, his father, William A. Rockefeller, an occasional farmer, small-time entrepreneur, moved from upstate New York to Cleveland with his deeply pious wife and five children. Rockefeller upon completing secondary school and a few business courses at Folsom's Commercial College, found work as a $4-a-week bookkeeper for a Cleveland dry goods merchant.
Obsessed with attaining professional and financial independence, John scrimped and borrowed for three years, until he had enough - $1,800 - to set up shop in 1859 as a dry-goods trader. Rockefeller watched as Cleveland-area businessmen made quick fortunes in oil refining, and he too was caught up in the heady excitement.
Rockefeller was among the first to set up refineries in Cleveland in the mid-1860s, when the end of the Civil War signalled a period of unprecedented economic expansion,
Rockefeller brought in new interests, recapitalized his firm, and began to buy out the competition.
Unable to control the price of vital raw materials, Rockefeller decided that the best way to boost his profits was to raise production, so he borrowed money to open a second refinery, the Standard Works. Surveying the refining business in 1870, the 31-year-old Rockefeller began to think about expanding further. Despite the oil industry's chaos, - Rockefeller had a clear vision of where it was going, and the key role his company could play in it. Following his instincts, he and his associates set out to combine all of Cleveland's refineries into a single firm in order to gain still greater leverage over railroads and crude oil producers. Capitalized at $1 million, Standard Oil eventually grew into a multibillion-dollar enterprise.
Once Standard Oil was established, Rockefeller approached weaker competitors with a simple proposition: join us or face the ravages of heightened competition. By 1870, when he formed the Standard Oil Company of Ohio, Rockefeller owned all of the refineries in his home base.
By the end of 1872, Standard had boosted its capacity sixfold and was refining 10,000 barrels a day. With 80 percent of Cleveland's refining industry under its roof, the company already stood as the nation's largest refining complex.
Standard Oil Company embodied the principle of a twentieth century factory - it facilitated a continuous flow of raw -materials through various links in a production chain until it emerged as a finished consumer product.
In the 1890s, Rockefeller, though only in his fifties, essentially removed himself from the daily affairs of the Standard Oil Company. He devoted much of the rest of his life to charity. He endowed the University of Chicago in 1892, and set up a foundation that dispensed millions to educational and health efforts around the world. Rockefeller died in 1937 at the age of 97. He provided the basis for one of America's greatest philanthropic foundations and serving the needs and desires of others, he improved to a great extent the quality of life for millions of people.
HENRY FORD AND THE "UNIVERSAL CAR
Ford's "universal car" was the industrial success story of its age. Model T Ford cars pervaded American culture. The central role that the Model T had come to play in America's cultural, social and economic life elevated Henry Ford into a full-fledged folk hero.
Henry Ford invented neither the automobile nor the assembly line, but recast each to dominate a new era. Indeed, no other individual in this century so completely transformed the nation's way of life. He transformed the automobile itself from a luxury to a necessity.
"I'm going to democratize the automobile, I will build a motorcar for the great multitude," Henry Ford had said in 1909. "When I'm through, everybody will be able to afford one, and about everybody will have one." Such a notion was revolutionary. Ford set out to make the car a commodity.
Henry Ford was born in 1863 in Dearborn, Michigan, on the farm operated by his father, an Irishman, and his mother, who was from Dutch stock.
Ford devoted himself to making a working automobile. On weekends and most nights, he could be found in a shed in the back of the family home, building his car. So great was his obsession that the neighbors called him Crazy Henry. In 1903, he formed the Ford Motor Company in association with Alexander Malcomson and about a dozen other investors.
Prickly, brilliant, willfully eccentric, he relied more on instinct than business plans. With a few colleagues, he devoted two years to the design and planning of the Model T.
The car that finally emerged from Ford's secret design section at the factory was simple, sturdy, and versatile. That little car was doomed to excite the public imagination and change America forever. The car went to the first customers on October 1, 1908. In its first year, over ten thousand were sold, a new record for an automobile model. Between 1914 and 1916, the company's profits doubled from $30 million to $60 million.
On June 4, 1924, the ten millionth Model T Ford left the Highland Park factory, which would remain the main facility for T production.
On May 26,1927, the fifteen millionth Model T Ford rolled off the assembly line at Ford's factory in Highland Park, Michigan.
In 1929, Ford, General Motors and the newly formed Chrysler Corporation - known then and now as the Big Three - accounted for 80 percent of the market ,
Henry Ford died on April 7, 1947, at the age of eighty-three. The world remains in large part the one set into motion by Henry Ford: a world in which cars are for everyone. Model ' T Ford cars jammed the streets of the great-eastern cities and roamed newly laid roads in southern California. They represented an opportunity for change in practically everything. They also became a crucial factor in recasting America's growing economy. Henry Ford had created a car for the multitudes and that car had created the basis of the car culture embraced by every subsequent generation.