August 5, 1882
A giant is born
The Standard Oil Company of New Jersey was established on this day as part of the giant Standard Oil Trust. The trust had been organized earlier in the year, bringing together John D. Rockefeller’s oil empire under one central management, run by Rockefeller and an “inner circle.” The Standard Oil Trust became the first great monopoly in American history, eventually acquiring 90 percent of the world’s oil refining capacity before it was ordered to dissolve in 1892. Rockefeller was infamous for his ruthless business tactics, and it was rumored that he often threatened to put local merchants out of business unless they bought Standard Oil.