Standard Oil Co. was an American oil-producing, transporting, refining, and marketing company. Established in 1870 by John D. Rockefeller and Henry Flagler as a corporation in Ohio, it was the largest oil refiner in the world at its height. Its history as one of the world's first and largest multinational corporations ended in 1911, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Standard Oil was an illegal monopoly.
|Industry||Oil and gas|
|Defunct||After its dissolution in 1911, the original Standard Oil Co. split into Sohio (now part of BP); ESSO (now Exxon); and SOcal (now Chevron)|
|Successor||34 successor entities|
|Products||Fuel, lubricant, petrochemicals|
Number of employees
Standard Oil dominated the oil products market initially through horizontal integration in the refining sector, then, in later years vertical integration; the company was an innovator in the development of the business trust. The Standard Oil trust streamlined production and logistics, lowered costs, and undercut competitors. "Trust-busting" critics accused Standard Oil of using aggressive pricing to destroy competitors and form a monopoly that threatened other businesses.
Rockefeller ran the company as its chairman, until his retirement in 1897. He remained the major shareholder, and in 1911, with the dissolution of the Standard Oil trust into 34 smaller companies, Rockefeller became the richest person in modern history, as the initial income of these individual enterprises proved to be much bigger than that of a single larger company. Its successors such as ExxonMobil, Marathon Petroleum, Amoco, and Chevron are still among the companies with the largest revenues in the world. By 1882, his top aide was John Dustin Archbold. After 1896, Rockefeller disengaged from business to concentrate on his philanthropy, leaving Archbold in control. Other notable Standard Oil principals include Henry Flagler, developer of the Florida East Coast Railway and resort cities, and Henry H. Rogers, who built the Virginian Railway.