Formed by John D. Rockefeller and five partners
Initially headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio
Headquarters moved to New York City (1885)
Ordered broken up for violating the Sherman Anti-Trust Act
Ruling upheld by the US Supreme Court (May 15, 1911)
Broken into 34 independent companies
'Baby Standards' included Exxon (originally Standard of New Jersey), Mobil (Standard of New York), Chevron (Standard of California), Amoco (Standard of Indiana) and Conoco (Continental Oil)
Why Standard Oil might be annoying
It negotiated secret lower shipping rates with the railroads.
It also negotiated to receive kickbacks from the railroads for shipments by its competitors.
It demanded from the railroads access to records of its competitors' shipping schedules, and would occasionally use its clout to ensure that another company's oil shipments would get sidelined at an inopportune time.
It dispatched saboteurs to blow up a rival refinery.
At its peak, it controlled 90% of the US oil industry.
It tried to create the illusion of competition by setting up 'independent' companies that it secretly controlled.
Why Standard Oil might not be annoying
It was run more efficiently than its competitors.
It found ways to use or sell petroleum byproducts that other companies threw out as waste.
During its rise, the price of its main product, kerosene, dropped in half.
Ironically, by the time it was broken up, its share of the market had declined to 60%.
Credit: C. Fishel
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Year In Review:
In 2015, Out of 13 Votes: 53.85% Annoying
In 2014, Out of 18 Votes: 50.0% Annoying
In 2013, Out of 10 Votes: 50.0% Annoying
In 2012, Out of 209 Votes: 53.59% Annoying
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