20 votes
Accepted

What happened to rural gas stations in the US?

Why have rural gas stations vanished? Because business conditions have changed: my grandfather built a small gas station in 1921 at Six Mile and Livernois, near Detroit, on a corner of his father's ...
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  • 6,739
17 votes
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Who were the first "businessmen" to rival the kings throughout the world?

Speaking very generally, merchant groups were relatively marginalized in all pre-modern societies. They formed networks across city-states in different regions, but were not allowed to take strong ...
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13 votes

In what year did Charles Proteus Steinmetz fix Ford's Generator for the famed $10,000 invoice?

It would have been somewhere between 1917 and 1923, and thus the amount on that check would be the rough equivalent of getting a check for $150k-$200k today. Assuming the story is true at all, of ...
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  • 109k
12 votes

Why was Apple not able to compete with Microsoft in the home PC market?

It wasn't just Apple. Commodore and Atari both had technically superior machines available for much of the early history of the PC platform, and both also got destroyed in the market. The best answer ...
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  • 109k
11 votes
Accepted

How prominent were taverns in medieval Europe?

The code of Hammurabi included laws regulating beer and beer parlours and it dates back to about 1754 BC, indicating that beer parlours and the commerce of beer were already common at that point. ...
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  • 3,649
9 votes

What exactly were the dealings of Ea-Nasir ("The Worst Businessman Of The 18th Century BC")?

The quotes given in Dr Killgrove's article includes just those parts of the tablets where the translation is reasonably certain. While these may convey the broad meaning (in this case that the ...
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  • 76.2k
9 votes
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Computer business in 1969

IBM started offering the "lease" option in the late 1960s, when leasing became popular in other industries. It seemed like a way to segment the market, but in so doing, IBM opened a window into their ...
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  • 103k
8 votes
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Why was Apple not able to compete with Microsoft in the home PC market?

The Rise of the IBM PC was very quick. The Apple II had done well and blazed a path but many as a hobby computer more than a business machine, and it was tagged as cute rather than practical. IBM had ...
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  • 2,096
7 votes
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Has there ever been an instance of a business attempting or succeed a coup?

This has happened several times between U.S. companies and Latin American countries. The United Fruit Company was a major player in a 1954 coup in Guatemala. A 1973 coup in Chile was allegedly ...
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  • 103k
6 votes

Why were businesses operating as trusts at one point, and why did the practice fall out of favor?

The two current answers cover why anti-trust laws exist, but if my reading of your question is correct, what you actually want to know is why most large companies were Trusts in those days, as opposed ...
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6 votes
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How to research a Victorian company

A search through archive of The Gazette (London), Official Public Record for the U.K., turns up: 22 November 1892; Issue:26347, Page:6589 & 6591: 9 May 1893; Issue:26399, Page:2692 & 4 So ...
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5 votes
Accepted

Who founded the Argentine mate herb enterprise Cruz de Malta?

Cruz de Malta, a yerba mate tea (herbal tea), was originally a brand of Sociedade Comercial Francisco Mendes e Companhía (aka Francisco Mendes & Cia), a company founded by Francisco Mendes ...
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5 votes
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What are some early examples of local businesses advertising?

According to Mass Media in Ancient Rome: Painted advertisements for games have survived under the ashes that buried Pompeii in 79 GC. These advertisements promoted the games’ sponsors as well as ...
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5 votes

What were the largest companies in the world before and after the Great Depression?

American Business History Center provides an XLSX file with the top U.S. (public only) companies in 1917 and 1929. here are the 1929 Top Ten: Source: Forbes Magazine 50th Anniversary Issue, 9/15/...
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5 votes

When State-Owned Enterprises (SOE) start to be practiced widely in ancient times?

The Palace economies of the late Bronze Age seem to be something like one big state-owned enterprise. Textile workshops in the late Uruk period (late 4th millenium BC) are also usually assumed to have ...
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  • 5,639
4 votes
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Why, and how, did chain stores come into being?

Chain stores became an important force in the American economy around the turn of the century. Mass production (and the accompanying potential for mass consumption) made this new business model ...
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4 votes

What are some early examples of local businesses advertising?

. . . the earliest surviving graffito is thought to be an ancient Greek brothel advert in Ephesus, now on Turkey’s west coast. Telegraph.co.uk The same article contains other discussions of ...
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  • 31k
4 votes

Are there extant rancho budgets (original or contrived) for Mexican California?

This is not a budget and being from 1850 is outside the Mexican period but it may be of some use. And if you scroll forward/down from that link you will find many more! Later - Many Many more!
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  • 554
4 votes

How do I interpret this 17th century English ledger?

The last columns at the right of each page appear to contain references to amounts of British money in the form of X pounds Y shillings Z pence. On the left are dates, and in the middle, references to ...
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  • 103k
4 votes

Who was the first retailer in Monterey, California?

To add to Aaron's answer: The first retail store keeper in Monterey was probably Don David Spence, born 24 October 1798 in the parish of Huntly, Scotland to David Spence and his wife Helen Stewart: (...
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  • 554
3 votes

What is the history of "industrial date coding" (year followed by week number)?

(I'm not sure I've got an answer, but I've got some research that may help someone else find a better answer). The practice appears to be commonplace in European commercial and industrial ...
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  • 31k
3 votes
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Who was the first retailer in Monterey, California?

Early retail in Monterey was either in the presidial paymaster's store, described in Guest's "Municipal Government in Spanish California"; a visiting ship's trading room, described in Graebner's "...
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  • 27.3k
3 votes

What major company bought all the paint of another company in the 20th century?

The Dow Company, in 1904. Dow had a monopoly on bromine in the US, but not in Europe, where the powerful German cartel Die Deutsche Bromkonvention fixed the price at 49 cents per pound, and ...
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3 votes

When were the "War Relief Toy Works" set up and by whom?

There is little credible information about War Relief Toy Works. The knowledge seems to be shared to whoever owns a piece. Based on some of my research I believe that "War Relief Toy Works" was a ...
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2 votes

Why, and how, did chain stores come into being?

The original chain stores sold low cost, mundane products that enabled merchants to save money by "buying in bulk." The first three included United Cigar (a "single" product store), F.W. Woolworth, a "...
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  • 103k
2 votes

Did an English company famous for its hidden purpose in the 1720s ever reveal its undertaking?

As the wikipedia article states, the quote is from Charles Mackay's "Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds". The quoted lines appear on page 57, as item 17 in a list of ...
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2 votes

Why was Apple not able to compete with Microsoft in the home PC market?

Bill Gates and Steve Jobs were genius businessmen, but Steve Jobs made two missteps, the Apple III and the Lisa, and was fired for it just as his newest effort, the Macintosh, was exploding in ...
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2 votes

What Insubordination Did Colonel Sanders Do With Prudential Life Insurance?

According to this wiki entry on Colonel Sanders, he was notoriously hard to get along with. Prior to Prudential Insurance, he had gotten fired from two jobs as a lawyer, one for getting into a fight ...
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  • 103k
2 votes
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Who was the Irish interpreter in Monterey in 1822?

Apparently John Mulligan, our Irishman from this question, was a man of many talents( and a couple of names). From Forgotten Pioneers: Irish Leaders in Early California By Thomas F. Prendergast ...
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  • 33.8k
2 votes

Who were the first "businessmen" to rival the kings throughout the world?

Basically I am trying to paint a vivid mental picture of how the merchant class gained power equal to or above the kings in Europe, China, and India (or anywhere else). Who were the key merchants (...
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