Great 19th Century Entrepreneurs
The 19th century saw the rise of some of the greatest entrepreneurs the world has ever known. Mention the word ‘entrepreneur,’ and names like Rockefeller, Carnegie, Ford, and Levi Strauss come to mind. These men certainly left a lasting impact on the business world, but many other entrepreneurs played an equally significant role in shaping our world.
Here are some 19th-century entrepreneurs you may not have heard of but absolutely should:
Amos was an American lawyer who became the first director of the United States Postal Service. He revolutionized the postal system by introducing prepayment of postage, which allowed for cheaper mail delivery.
William Procter and James Gamble
These two entrepreneurs founded the Procter & Gamble Company in 1837, which has since become one of the largest consumer goods companies in the world. They started with selling candles and soap, but P&G has expanded to include products like Tide, Crest, and Pampers.
John Wanamaker turned the concept of the department store into a reality in the 19th century. He opened the first department store, Wanamaker’s Grand Depot, in 1876 in Philadelphia, which became a model for department stores worldwide.
Leland Stanford is best known for founding Stanford University, but he was also an entrepreneur who made a fortune in the railroad industry. He co-founded the Central Pacific Railroad, which was instrumental in constructing the Transcontinental Railroad.
Hetty Green, also known as the “Witch of Wall Street,” was one of the wealthiest women of the 19th century. She made her fortune in real estate and railroads and was known for her frugality and shrewd business sense.
John Patterson founded the National Cash Register Company, which revolutionized the use of cash registers in businesses. He also introduced the concept of customer service and installed the first electric lighting in offices.
Madam C.J. Walker
Madam C.J. Walker was the first African-American female millionaire in the United States. She made her fortune through hair care products for black women and was also a philanthropist and advocate for women’s rights.
James Buchanan Duke
James Buchanan Duke made his fortune in the tobacco industry and founded the American Tobacco Company. He also became a successful philanthropist and established Duke University.
These entrepreneurs may not be household names but they have made lasting contributions to business and innovation. They were visionaries who took risks and created opportunities that significantly impacted the world we live in today.