Sunday, April 23, 2017

Origin of Shell Company

The red-and-yellow pecten shell is the emblem of the Royal Dutch/Shell Group of companies, often referred to simply as ‘Shell’ or ‘the Group’. It is one of the largest industrial organizations in the world.

Shell was born in the early days of the oil boom and started out in the shadow of John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil monopoly, which was able to drive many emerging rival oil companies out of business by undercutting their price and taking over their shares of the market.

During the Civil War, when some of the slaves from Trepagnier Plantation were joining Union forces to fight the Confederacy in Louisiana, a British Jew from the East End of London was setting up as a merchant on the docks in that great city. Marcus Samuel was an enterprising fellow who decided to greet ships returning to England from India, Japan, Africa and the Middle east and offer to buy any trinkets and curious that sailors had collected abroad.
Before long, word spread among sailors that they could augment their wages by selling to Samuel. With business thriving, Samuel opened large warehouses on the docks to collect these items and resell them. Among the items he purchased were exotic shells, which he had glued onto wooden jewelry boxes. Those boxes were sold to young women who came to the beach for a holiday. In the 1890s, Samuel expanded the business into kerosene, lighting fuel refined from oil. His grandson later took his fortune and expanded import/export business, opening offices in Japan and London.

In the 1890s, the French Rothschild family decided to go into business exploiting the oil fields opening in Baku in Russia. Needing a partner to help them transport and sell the oil, they turned to Marcus Samuel.

In alliance with the Rothschild family, Samuel organized a new system of distributing kerosene in the East by bulk tanker shipment. The tankers were named after seashells, thus the origin of the Shell trademark.

In 1897, Samuel combined his growing Far East syndicate of business into the Shell Transport & Trading Company. He wanted to ensure the loyalty of the various trading houses that formed the Tank Syndicate in the Far East. To that end, he made all of them shareholders of a new company that incorporated the whole of his interest and tanker fleets, as well as the storage installation belonging to the various trading houses.

In 1907, Sir Marcus Samuel and Henry Deterding merged the Shell Transport and Trading Company with the Royal Dutch Petroleum Company to create Royal Dutch/Shell. Today Royal Dutch/Shell is the world second largest oil company. The company is 40 percent owned by Shell Transport and Trading Company and 60 percent owned by Royal Dutch Petroleum.

Deterding then bought Shell ashore in the United States in Washington and Louisiana to take on Standard Oil on its home turf. John D. Rockefeller tried to buy out Royal Dutch/Shell with an offer of $100 million in 1910, but the deal was turn down.
Origin of Shell Company
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