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John Warne Gates

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Menny Benjamin

on 28 February 2014

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Transcript of John Warne Gates

Brief Background
John W. Gates was a barbed-wire and oil industrialist during the Gilded Age. Many people considered him a "Robber Baron" during this time, due to his methods of monopolization and gambling. He was even nicknamed "Bet-a-Million" Gates, for his ruthless gambling and influence on the stock market.

John Warne Gates
Works cited
Background Cont. (Focus/ Inspiration)
Gates was born on 1855 in Illinois, where he grew up in a middle-classed family. After graduating high school, and briefly attending business school, he opened up a hardware store where he was to sell his famous barbed wire. A few years later he got married, and soon realized that he had a much greater potential from barbed-wire, than just selling it in a small hardware store. Gates became inspired from barbed-wire and decided to take things to the next level by being a salesman for the Barb Fence Company. This was the manufacturer for the barbed-wire that he sold in his store. He soon opened up his own barbed-wire factory in Missouri, and had success. Over the next decade, Gates used schemes, such as vertical/horizontal integration to merge his business with his competitors and eventually create the American Steel & Wire Company. His company composed of all the major barbed-wire manufacturers, which had a total stock value of $90 million. This allowed him to have a complete monopoly over barbed-wire.

Background Cont. (Living the wealthy life)
By: Menny Benjamin
With the fortune that Gates has made from his barbed-wire, he began to spread his control on to the steel industry by playing a major role in forming many steel companies in the U.S. He was able to help form the first billion-dollar corporation by organizing the combination of the American Steel & Wire Company with the United States Steel Corporation. Gates's wealth from his barbed-wire monopoly led him to excessive betting and stock purchasing. His wealth also allowed him to live a luxurious and easy life. He earned his "Bet-a-Million" nickname due to the ridiculous bets he has made on poker, horse races, and more. A few years later, Gates turned his concentration towards the oil industry in Port Arthur, Texas, were he had great success. His oil company, which was The Texas Company, later became known as the Texaco oil company. He died on 1911, in Paris, France, while visiting a castle that he had purchased.
Impact on Society/ Govt Interaction
John Gates and the barbed-wire that he sold, proved to be very important for the development and settling of the western frontier. His barbed-wire was capable of withstanding the elements of the western prairie, and it was cheap compared to other materials used for fencing. His wire helped prevent animals from getting to farmer's crops, which accelerated production and the western growth rate. Gates's passion for barbed-wire being successful in protecting America's farms and civilizing the west, truly made him a historical figure.
Gates's oil investments in Texas, proved to be well worth it. His oil company transformed Port Arthur, Texas into a hotspot for oil refining and shipping, which aided the U.S. economy. Gates also helped the U.S. become an industrial power from his steel and wire industrial merges. The govt. saw benefits from big businesses, so they sided with them to get the most out of industries. That is why Gates had little govt. resistance when using "Robber Baron" tactics to chain businesses into large corporations.
Time Line
During his time at Port Arthur, Texas, Gates contributed towards the development of Port Arthur Business College, St. Mary's Hospital, and the Plaza Hotel. He also had plans for the construction of a public library, but his death ended the project.
Born May 8, 1855
Worked in a small hardware store 1874
Opened up a barb-wire factory at Missouri
1898 Formed the American Steel & Wire Co.

Established Southern Wire Co.
Combined Amer. Steel & Wire with U.S. Steel Co.
Gambling/Stock Market panic
1906 Returned to Port Arthur for
Texaco ( "The Texas Company")
Died August 9, 1911
Full transcript