Whether or no such was the main reason for their formation, the trusts have in facts restrained or eliminated competition in their field. Yet some time prior to the modern trust movement attempts had been made through other agencies to restrain the free play of competition. Some familiarity with these other attempts is essential to an understanding of the trust movement.
The pool was the first and the commonest mode of restricting competition between manufacturers. A pool was formed in the brass industry as early as 1853;1 and one in the cordage industry in 1861.2 Yet until after the Civil War combinations among manufacturers were few in number and narrow in scope. The inadequacy of transportation facilities, and the comparatively small capital investment per firm, prevented manufacturers from reaching out to any considerable extent into the territory of their potential rivals; and there was thus less occasion for association. But with the rapid growth of business after the Civil War and the development of large-scale production, keen competition appeared. To check this competition pools were formed; and they have been numerous ever since. At the present time they are probably more numerous and varied than ever before. Even some of the leading trusts, such as the United States Steel Corporation, have had pooling agreements with the independent producers; and some pools are international in scope.
The term pool as here used is a catch-all for the various agreements and associations whereby a number of concerns, each preserving its own organization and to a large degree its own independence, adopted provisions looking toward the main-____________________