Mellon's Millions: The Biography of a Fortune; the Life and Times of Andrew W. Mellon

Mellon's Millions: The Biography of a Fortune; the Life and Times of Andrew W. Mellon

Mellon's Millions: The Biography of a Fortune; the Life and Times of Andrew W. Mellon

Mellon's Millions: The Biography of a Fortune; the Life and Times of Andrew W. Mellon

Excerpt

The Mellon fortune grew stealthily into the hundreds of millions before the Mellon name was known outside intimate circles of finance and industry. By the time the Senatorial spotlight had coupled "Mellon" and "aluminum," the family was worth a billion. Few knew by what means the Pittsburgh bankers drew such prodigious nourishment from the nation's needs. Never before had a money-lender plied his trade in millions with such an utter lack of publicity. Yet not a citizen escaped making his contribution to the Smithfield Street banking house.

No other Crœsus has levied toll on so many articles and services. The householder of Pittsburgh, Milwaukee and the Twin Cities bought Mellon coal; in Philadelphia or New England he bought Mellon coke; in Boston or Brooklyn his wife cooked by Mellon gas. Once the Pittsburgh family was entrenched in the public utilities field, thanks to the magic of Koppers gas and coke ovens and Union Trust financing, the residents of a thousand communities contributed to its coffers. Meanwhile hardly a soul knew even the name of the holding company which owned his local light or gas concern, much less the Mellons' position in it.

By the latter half of the Third Decade, the intelligent housewife probably realized the relationship between the high price of aluminum ware and the Mellon monopoly. Yet cooking utensils were merely one phase of the tightest metal monopoly known to history. AR industry bent the knee to the Aluminum Company of America; electric companies needed aluminum wire for long distance transmission; builders required aluminum for lightweight . . .

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