Standard Oil's Pipeline Empire and Pipeline Legislation, 1880-1883
THE success of the Tide-Water Pipe Line, as William H. Vanderbilt foresaw, "sealed" the doom of the railroads as primary crude oil carriers, for Standard Oil was compelled to meet this new challenge on its own ground. As long as the combination had favorable rates from the railroads and its competitors had no alternative method for the long-distance carriage of crude, it had no incentive to build trunk pipelines. Now the situation was changed. Continued predominance in refining required possession of such lines. Standard Oil's managers, with typical efficiency, turned the resources of their organization to the development of a great trunk pipeline system, and they fought the Tide-Water to a standstill. In the political area, however, they were less successful in blocking state legislation favorable to their opponents, who profited from mounting public criticism of Standard Oil -- now organized as the Standard Oil Trust. Still, the Trust's predominant power in crude oil transportation was no more threatened by public policy than by competition.
As the first step in the creation of a trunk pipeline system Standard Oil officials proposed to connect their Cleveland refineries with the