Famous 18th Century Businessmen

Find out more about the greatest 18th Century Business People, including Cornelius Vanderbilt, Mayer Amschel Rothschild, Robert Owen, John Jacob Astor and Richard Arkwright.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Mayer Amschel Rothschild

Mayer Amschel Rothschild.
3
Famous As: Banker
Birthdate: February 23, 1744
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Frankfurt, Germany
Died: September 19, 1812
The Founding Father of International Finance, Mayer Amschel Rothschild, started what is known as the Rothschild dynasty, which shaped the trajectory of banking and finance in Europe. He had started off as a rare coins dealer and later expanded his banking business through his five sons.

 2 Cornelius Vanderbilt

Cornelius Vanderbilt.
4
Famous As: Business Tycoon & Philanthropist
Birthdate: May 27, 1794
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Staten Island
Died: January 4, 1877

Cornelius Vanderbilt was an American business magnate credited with vastly expanding and improving America's transportation infrastructure. For his contributions to the country's railroad industry, Vanderbilt was made an inductee of the North America Railway Hall of Fame in 1999. He is also remembered for providing an initial $1 million endowment to Vanderbilt University, which was named in his honor.

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 3 John Jacob Astor

John Jacob Astor.
3
Famous As: Entrepreneur
Birthdate: July 17, 1763
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Walldorf
Died: March 29, 1848

 4 Robert Owen

Robert Owen.
3
Birthdate: May 14, 1771
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Newtown, Montgomeryshire, Wales
Died: November 17, 1858
While working as an apprentice to a clothes manufacturer, Robert Owen often spent hours reading at his employer’s library. He later explored the textile industry and led a Manchester firm. Remembered as a pioneer of the co-operative movement and utopian socialism, he improved the working conditions of factory workers.

 5 Matthew Boulton

Matthew Boulton.
2
Famous As: Businessperson, Engineer
Birthdate: September 3, 1728
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Birmingham, England
Died: August 17, 1809

British manufacturer and engineer Matthew Boulton is best remembered as the financier of Scottish engineer James Watt’s pathbreaking steam engine. His Soho Manufactory initially produced metal parts, and he later stepped into John Roebuck’s shoes to partner with Watt, after Roebuck went bankrupt. He also established the Soho Mint.

 6 Johns Hopkins

Johns Hopkins.
3
Famous As: Entrepreneur & Philanthropist
Birthdate: May 19, 1795
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Anne Arundel County, Maryland, United States
Died: December 24, 1873

 7 Elihu Yale

Elihu Yale
3
Famous As: Merchant
Birthdate: April 5, 1649
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Died: July 8, 1721
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 8 George Peabody

George Peabody.
3
Famous As: Entrepreneur & Philanthropist
Birthdate: February 18, 1795
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Danvers
Died: November 4, 1869

 9 Richard Arkwright

Richard Arkwright.
3
Famous As: Inventor
Birthdate: December 23, 1732
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Preston, Lancashire
Died: August 3, 1792

Initially a wig-maker, Richard Arkwright later grew an interest in the spinning mechanism, building the Arkwright’s water frame, which used water power to produce cotton yarn. He soon became a name to reckon with in the textile industry, with many mills to his name. He was knighted for his feats.

 10 Robert Morris

Robert Morris
3
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: January 20, 1734
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Toxteth, Liverpool, England
Died: May 8, 1806

 11 James Mayer de Rothschild

James Mayer de Rothschild
2
Famous As: Banker, Art collector, Economist, Businessperson
Birthdate: May 15, 1792
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Frankfurt
Died: November 15, 1868

German-French banker and the youngest child of Mayer Amschel Rothschild, James Mayer de Rothschild. He took over the reins of his family banking firm after the death of his brother Nathan and headed the French Rothschild banking family. The Légion d'honneur winner later also invested in a vineyard.

 12 Dom Pérignon

Dom Pérignon
2
Famous As: Monk
Birthdate: November 30, 1638
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Sainte-Menehould, France
Died: September 14, 1715

 13 David Thompson

David Thompson
2
Famous As: Fur trader
Birthdate: April 30, 1770
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Westminster, England
Died: February 10, 1857

 14 Stephen Girard

Stephen Girard
2
Famous As: Sailor, Entrepreneur, Banker
Birthdate: May 20, 1750
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Bordeaux
Died: December 26, 1831

 15 Haym Salomon

Haym Salomon
2
Famous As: Businessman
Birthdate: April 7, 1740
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Leszno, Poland
Died: January 6, 1785

Polish-American businessman Haym Salomon not only contributed to the establishment of the Philadelphia synagogue Mikveh Israel, but also lent huge amounts of interest-free money to soldiers and other borrowers during the American Revolutionary War. The financier eventually died in poverty, with the American government owing thousands of dollars to him.

 16 Thomas Hutchinson

Thomas Hutchinson
2
Famous As: Businessman
Birthdate: September 9, 1711
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: British America
Died: June 3, 1780

 17 Peter Cooper

Peter Cooper.
2
Famous As: Industrialist & Inventors
Birthdate: February 12, 1791
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: New York City
Died: April 4, 1883

 18 James Gordon Bennett, Sr.

James Gordon Bennett, Sr..
2
Famous As: Founder of New York Herald
Birthdate: September 1, 1795
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Keith
Died: June 1, 1872

 19 Amschel Mayer Rothschild

Amschel Mayer Rothschild
2
Famous As: Banker
Birthdate: June 12, 1773
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Frankfurt
Died: December 6, 1855

 20 Thomas Mifflin

Thomas Mifflin
2
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: January 10, 1744
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: January 20, 1800

 21 Eliza Lucas

Eliza Lucas
2
Famous As: Business person
Birthdate: December 28, 1722
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Antigua, Antigua and Barbuda
Died: May 26, 1793

Eliza Lucas was an agronomist who redefined agriculture in colonial South Carolina by developing indigo as one of the region's most prominent cash crops. The processing of indigo as dye influenced the colony's economy greatly before the Revolutionary War. She was the first woman to be be inducted into the South Carolina's Business Hall of Fame in the 20th century.

 22 Charles R. Walgreen

Charles R. Walgreen
2
Famous As: American pharmacologist
Birthdate: October 9, 1873
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Knoxville, Illinois, United States
Died: December 11, 1939

 23 Carl Mayer von Rothschild

Carl Mayer von Rothschild
2
Famous As: Banker
Birthdate: April 24, 1788
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Frankfurt
Died: March 10, 1855

 24 Hennig Brand

Hennig Brand
2
Famous As: Merchant
Birthdate: 1630 AD
Birthplace: Hamburg, Germany
Died: 1710 AD

 25 Anson Jones

Anson Jones
2
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: January 20, 1798
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Great Barrington
Died: January 9, 1858

 26 Pierre-Esprit Radisson

Pierre-Esprit Radisson
2
Famous As: Fur Trader
Birthdate: 1636 AD
Birthplace: Avignon, France
Died: 1710 AD

 27 John Wilkinson

John Wilkinson.
2
Famous As: Pioneer in cast iron manufacturing
Birthdate: 1728 AD
Birthplace: Bridgefoot
Died: July 14, 1808

 28 Francis Lewis

Francis Lewis.
1
Famous As: Member of the United States House of Representatives
Birthdate: March 21, 1713
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Llandaff
Died: December 31, 1802

 29 David Sassoon

David Sassoon
1
Famous As: entrepreneur
Birthdate: September 30, 1792
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Baghdad
Died: November 7, 1864

 30 Philip Livingston

Philip Livingston
2
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: January 15, 1716
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Albany, New York, United States
Died: June 12, 1778

 31 Thomas Guy

Thomas Guy
1
Famous As: Philanthropist
Birthdate: 1644 AD
Birthplace: Southwark, England
Died: December 27, 1724

 32 Henry Kelsey

Henry Kelsey
1
Famous As: Explorer
Birthdate: 1667 AD
Birthplace: Greenwich, England
Died: November 1, 1724

 33 Carter Braxton

Carter Braxton
1
Famous As: Merchant
Birthdate: September 10, 1736
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: King and Queen County, Virginia, United States
Died: October 10, 1797

 34 Allan MacNab

Allan MacNab
1
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: February 19, 1798
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Niagara-on-the-Lake, Canada
Died: August 8, 1862

 35 Robert Livingston the Elder

Robert Livingston the Elder
3
Famous As: Official
Birthdate: December 13, 1654
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Ancrum, near Jedburgh, County of Roxburgh, Scotland
Died: October 1, 1728

 36 Benjamin Huntsman

Benjamin Huntsman
1
Famous As: Inventor
Birthdate: June 4, 1704
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Epworth, England
Died: June 20, 1776

 37 Andrew Oliver

Andrew Oliver
1
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: March 28, 1706
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Boston
Died: March 3, 1774

 38 Glikl of Hameln

Glikl of Hameln
1
Famous As: Businesswomen
Birthdate: 1646 AD
Birthplace: Hamburg, Germany
Died: September 19, 1724

 39 Sarah Kemble Knight

Sarah Kemble Knight
1
Famous As: Teacher
Birthdate: April 19, 1666
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Died: September 25, 1727

 40 Christopher Polhem

Christopher Polhem
1
Famous As: Scientist
Birthdate: December 18, 1661
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Gotland, Sweden
Died: August 30, 1751

 41 Archibald Campbell, 3rd Duke of Argyll

Archibald Campbell, 3rd Duke of Argyll
1
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: June 1, 1682
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Ham House, England
Died: April 15, 1761

 42 John Dollond

John Dollond
1
Famous As: Optician
Birthdate: June 21, 1706
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: London, England
Died: November 30, 1761

 43 George Croghan

George Croghan
1
Famous As: Trader
Birthdate: 1718 AD
Birthplace: Ireland
Died: August 31, 1782

 44 William Pepperrell

William Pepperrell
1
Famous As: Soldier
Birthdate: June 27, 1696
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Kittery, Maine, United States
Died: July 6, 1759

 45 Alexander Henry The Elder

Alexander Henry The Elder.
1
Famous As: Explorer, Pioneer of British-Canadian Fur Trade
Birthdate: July 31, 1739
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: New Brunswick
Died: April 4, 1824

 46 Thomas Pitt

Thomas Pitt
1
Famous As: Merchant
Birthdate: July 5, 1653
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Blandford St. Mary, England
Died: April 28, 1726

 47 Nicolas Perrot

Nicolas Perrot
1
Famous As: Traveler
Birthdate: 1644 AD
Birthplace: France
Died: 1717 AD

 48 Lewis Paul

Lewis Paul
1
Famous As: Inventor
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: London, England
Died: 1759 AD

 49 Thomas Brattle

Thomas Brattle
1
Famous As: Merchant
Birthdate: June 20, 1658
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Massachusetts, United States
Died: May 18, 1713

American merchant, mathematician, astronomer, and traveller Thomas Brattle is best known for his participation in the Salem Witch Trials and in formation of the Brattle Street Church. A member of the Royal Society, Brattle and his younger brother William improved Harvard College, where he often donated money and served as treasurer and as an unofficial professor of astronomy and mathematics.

 50 Isaac Sears

Isaac Sears
1
Famous As: Merchant
Birthdate: July 1, 1730
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: West Brewster, Massachusetts, United States
Died: October 28, 1786