Entries in Transportation

Beinecke, Frederick W.
Frederick W. Beinecke nurtured, along with his two brothers and lifelong business partners Edwin and Walter, The Sperry & Hutchinson Company (S&H) of New York City, the leading trading stamp company in the United States. Continue Reading »
Bernstein, Arnold
Arnold Bernstein was a successful shipping magnate in Hamburg before immigrating to the United States under pressure from the Nazi Regime. Despite losing his company the Arnold Bernstein Schiffahrtsgesellschaft and most of his assets, Bernstein re-established himself in the United States, founding a new shipping company, Arnold Bernstein Steamship Corporation. Continue Reading »
Boas, Emil
Emil Leopold Boas was the general manager and resident director of the Hamburg-America Steamship Company (Hamburg-Amerikanische Packetfahrt-Actien-Gesellschaft or HAPAG) in New York City from 1892 to 1912. Boas joined HAPAG after serving in various capacities in the Hamburg and New York offices of his uncle's steamship ticket agency, C.B. Richard & Boas Co. Continue Reading »
Boeing, William Edward
William E. Boeing, the founder of one of the United States’ most high-profile corporations, was active in several different economic sectors both before and after establishing the aircraft manufacturing company that bears his name. The son of a wealthy Michigan lumber magnate, Boeing inherited a fortune from his father as a child and went on to an elite education at a Swiss boarding school and at Yale. Leaving college before graduating, he moved to Washington state and used his inheritance to begin investing in the timber industry. He soon became fascinated by the early airplane industry and organized one of the first major airplane manufacturers. Continue Reading »
Business of Migration since 1815
Millions of American immigrants, who worked in business or started new businesses of their own, also used businesses in order to reach America in the first place. Before the mid nineteenth century advent of the telegraph, railroad and steamship, this migration usually relied on the services of multiple businesses and intermediaries in order to carry out long multi-stage journeys across land and ocean. In the modern “global village,” interconnected by widely available fast air travel, key services needed by international migrants are also generally dispersed across multiple businesses, often related mainly to surmounting and adapting to legal restrictions. In between, during late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the business of migration was concentrated mainly on the crossing of the North Atlantic. Mass transatlantic migration then became the core segment of the world’s first major intercontinental travel industry, a business in which large German shipping lines played a leading role. Within a longer term context, this essay emphasizes that middle epoch of commercially-provided physical relocation from Europe to the United States, and also includes a sub-focus on entrepreneurship of German origin. Continue Reading »
Duesenberg, Frederick S.
The founders of Duesenberg Automobiles and Motors Company, Frederick S. and August S. Duesenberg immigrated to the United States at a young age and settled in Iowa with their parents and siblings. Drawn to racing, they would eventually relocate to Indianapolis, where they would become known in the 1920s and 1930s for producing cars with luxurious interiors, powerful engines, and impressive speeds on the race-track. Continue Reading »
Fink, Albert
After emigrating to America in 1849, Albert Fink got his start as an engineer at two successful railroads, the Baltimore & Ohio and the Louisville & Nashville. However, it was his role in the creation of two major railway pools the Southern Railway and Steamship Association and later the New York-based Trunk Line Association where he truly made his mark as an "organizational entrepreneur." Continue Reading »
Fruehauf, August ‘Gus’ Charles
August Charles Fruehauf's story and invention of the truck trailer is an integral part of the nation's transportation history in the last century. The Fruehauf Trailer Company facilitated the growth of continental transportation as a viable alternative to rail that brought efficient transportation from the farmer's gate and the factory's loading door. Continue Reading »
Hackfeld, Heinrich
Heinrich (Henry) Hackfeld was born in Almsloh, a village in the parish of Ganderkesee, in the Grand Duchy of Oldenburg. He eventually became part of the Bremish mercantile elite, but was atypical in that he came from a humble background. His firm, H. Hackfeld & Co. of Honolulu, was one of a number of German mercantile businesses founded in Melanesia and Polynesia during the nineteenth century. Initially the main focus of the firm’s business was both indirect and direct involvement in the North Pacific whaling industry. After the demise of this industry, at the beginning of the 1870s, the firm shifted its focus to another part of its business, the provision of factoring services to the Hawaiian sugar industry. By the time of the incorporation of Hawaii as a United States Territory in 1900 the firm was one of a small group of sugar factors that dominated the islands’ economy. Continue Reading »
Hihn, Frederick Augustus
German immigrant Frederick A. Hihn arrived in San Francisco as part of the Gold Rush and later amassed vast landholdings in Santa Cruz County. He spent much of his life developing property around existing towns and creating new vacation communities along Monterey Bay. Continue Reading »
Kaiser, Henry J.
Henry Kaiser’s importance in the creation of the modern American West cannot be overstated. Bridges and roads, river regulation projects and dams, pipelines and public transportation facilities, the supply of drinking water and cheap energy, the creation of steel production on the West Coast, and, finally, the building of houses and apartments—Henry J. Kaiser’s entrepreneurial activities played a crucial part in creating the preconditions for decades of prosperity throughout the region. Continue Reading »
Merchants of Migration: Keeping the German Atlantic Connected in America’s Early National Period
This essay examines how, in the period 1800-1820, merchant practices refined during the colonial era helped to bring thousands of Germans to the New World, in a period before regular commercial shipping between Germany and the United States could furnish large-scale immigration. Continue Reading »
Pfister, Charles F
Thought extraordinarily successful, Charles Pfister was in many ways typical for a second generation German-American immigrant entrepreneur in the period between the gilded age and the progressive era: He managed technological and organizational innovations, continued in old branches and developed new ones, had to face the challenges of a political mass market and found himself in a contested situation by a general public, which celebrated successful entrepreneurs as titans and accused them as selfish and heartless forces of wealth. Continue Reading »
Rapp, Johann Georg
In 1803, George Rapp left his native Württemberg for the United States of America in search of the Promised Land. Between 1804 and 1825, Rapp and his sectarians established three utopian communities in the United States, each housing as many as eight hundred people. In order to realize his goal of a perfect society, Rapp established an organizational model that clearly defined interactions between his society and the outside world and religious observances. His so-called Divine Economy enabled him to negotiate between the community’s practice of an inner-communal socialism, external capitalist entrepreneurship, and spiritual millennial beliefs. Moreover, by adhering to this model, Rapp and his followers transitioned successfully from self-sustaining agricultural work to frontier marketing, manufacturing, and global business activities. Continue Reading »
Schiff, Jacob
A banker and philanthropist, Jacob H. Schiff secured European funding to build America’s railroads, mines, and other enterprises. He helped transform the United States into the world’s leading industrialized economy. Continue Reading »
Spreckels, Claus
Born in Lamstedt, Claus Spreckels settled in California and built a sugar empire that expanded into a multitude of sectors, including: transport, gas and electricity, real estate, newspapers, banks, and breweries. Continue Reading »
Tede, Wolfgang
Wolfgang “Dieter” Tede was a founding partner of the Marine Chartering Company (MCC), a leading international ocean transportation company established in San Francisco. Continue Reading »
Villard, Henry
A financier and investor, Henry Villard helped realize many important infrastructure ventures in the U.S. and in the process made and lost several fortunes. Continue Reading »