19th Century Business People

Find out more about the greatest 19th Century Entrepreneurs, including Thomas Edison, John D. Rockefeller, Alexander Graham Bell, Henry Ford and Andrew Carnegie.

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 P. T. Barnum

P. T.  Barnum.
12
Famous As: American politician
Birthdate: July 5, 1810
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Bethel
Died: April 7, 1891

P. T. Barnum was an American politician, showman, and businessman. He is credited with founding the famous Barnum & Bailey Circus, which ran for 146 years. He is also credited with co-founding the Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Steamboat Company, which is one of the oldest American ferry companies. His life and work have inspired many films, including The Greatest Showman.

 2 Madam C. J. Walker

Madam C. J. Walker.
7
Famous As: Entrepreneur
Birthdate: December 23, 1867
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Delta, Louisiana, United States
Died: May 25, 1919
Madam C.J. Walker is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the first female self-made American millionaire. She manufactured and promoted a cosmetic-and-hair-care line catering to black women, through the Madam C. J. Walker Manufacturing Company. She was also the richest African-American businesswoman when she died.
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 3 Andrew Carnegie

Andrew Carnegie.
6
Famous As: Industrialist, Businessman, Entrepreneur and a major Philanthropist.
Birthdate: November 25, 1835
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Dunfermline
Died: August 11, 1919
Andrew Carnegie revolutionized the 19th-century steel industry by investing in railroads, bridges, and other projects. He donated most of his wealth to philanthropic causes, and built significant establishments, such as the Carnegie Hall and the Carnegie Mellon University. In the Gospel of Wealth, he urged the wealthy to donate.

 4 J. P. Morgan

J. P. Morgan.
7
Famous As: Financier
Birthdate: April 17, 1837
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Hartford, Connecticut, United States
Died: March 31, 1913
J.P. Morgan was an iconic figure of the economic boom of the Gilded Age and established the investment banking firm J.P. Morgan & Co. He also controlled companies such as U.S. Steel, General Electric, and AT&T. He prevented the American economy from collapsing during the Panic of 1907.
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 5 Thomas Edison

Thomas Edison.
4
Famous As: Inventor, Businessman
Birthdate: February 11, 1847
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Milan, Ohio, United States
Died: October 18, 1931

Described as America’s greatest inventor, Thomas Edison’s legacy is an everlasting one. He was the first to help make the incandescent light bulb commercially viable, even though he was not the first inventor of it. Quadruplex telegraph, phonograph, motion picture camera and the alkaline storage battery are some the many innovations that made him a worldwide phenomenon and an icon.

 6 Jamsetji Tata

Jamsetji Tata.
7
Famous As: Father of Indian Industry
Birthdate: March 3, 1839
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Navsari, Gujarat, India
Died: May 19, 1904
Legendary Indian industrialist Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata established the Tata Group and the city of Jamshedpur, too. The Father of Indian Industry also founded the Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai, which was the only Indian hotel with electricity back then. His legacy was carried forward by subsidiaries such as Tata Steel.

 7 Alexander Graham Bell

Alexander Graham Bell.
6
Famous As: Inventor of Telephone
Birthdate: March 3, 1847
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Edinburgh
Died: August 2, 1922

Alexander Graham Bell was a scientist, inventor, and engineer. He is credited with inventing the first functional telephone. He is also credited with co-founding America's major telephone company AT&T, which has been going strong since 1885. Bell's later life was marked by his groundbreaking work in aeronautics, hydrofoils, and optical telecommunications. He was also an ardent supporter of compulsory sterilization.

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 8 J. Paul Getty

J. Paul Getty.
6
Famous As: Businessman
Birthdate: December 15, 1892
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S
Died: June 6, 1976

As the patriarch of the Getty family, J. Paul Getty was an influential petrol-industrialist who founded the Getty Oil Company. In 1966, Paul made it to the Guinness Book of Records as the world's richest private citizen. An avid collector of antiquities and art, his collection is preserved at the J. Paul Getty Museum in California.

 9 William Randolph Hearst

William Randolph Hearst.
6
Famous As: Newspaper Baron
Birthdate: April 29, 1863
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: San Francisco, California, United States
Died: August 14, 1951

William Randolph Hearst was an American newspaper publisher, businessman, and politician. He is credited with developing America's largest newspaper chain, Hearst Communications. Today, Hearst Communications has grown into a multinational business information and mass media conglomerate. William Randolph Hearst’s life and work inspired the creation of Charles Foster Kane, the main character in the 1941 drama film, Citizen Kane.

 10 Conrad Hilton

Conrad Hilton.
6
Famous As: American Hotelier and Businessman
Birthdate: December 25, 1887
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: San Antonio, New Mexico Territory, United States of America
Died: January 3, 1979

Conrad Hilton was an American politician and businessman credited with founding the popular multinational hospitality company, Hilton Hotels Corporation. He is also the founder of a non-profit charitable organization called Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, which aims at ending human suffering worldwide. In 1996, the Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize was created by the foundation in the memory of Conrad Hilton.

 11 Cecil John Rhodes

Cecil John Rhodes.
5
Famous As: Former Prime Minister of the Cape Colony
Birthdate: July 5, 1853
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom
Died: March 26, 1902
English mining entrepreneur Cecil Rhodes founded the South African territory of Rhodesia, which now consists of the countries Zimbabwe and Zambia. He had been the prime minister of Cape Colony and the chairman of De Beers. He also founded the Rhodes University and launched the Rhodes Scholarship.

 12 Enzo Ferrari

Enzo Ferrari.
5
Famous As: Italian racing driver
Birthdate: February 18, 1898
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Turin
Died: August 14, 1988
Italian race-car driver Enzo Ferrari, also known as "il Commendatore" and "il Drake,” founded the motor-racing team Scuderia Ferrari Grand Prix. He had also been part of the Italian army during World War I. He was posthumously inducted into the International Motorsports and the Automotive halls of fame.

 13 George Eastman

George Eastman.
3
Famous As: Inventor of Roll Film
Birthdate: July 12, 1854
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Waterville
Died: March 14, 1932

George Eastman revolutionized the world of photography with his Eastman Kodak Company and the roll film, which also came to be used in movies. Initially a banker, he later devoted himself to his camera company. A dedicated philanthropist, too, he contributed financially to music, dentistry, and medicine.

 14 Otto Frank

Otto Frank.
4
Famous As: Father of Anne Frank
Birthdate: May 12, 1889
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Frankfurt am Main, German Empire
Died: August 19, 1980
Otto Frank, the father of Anne Frank, published her journal, detailing her experience during the Holocaust, as The Diary of a Young Girl, after her death. Otto was the only person in his family to survive the Holocaust. A former banker, he had also served in the German army.

 15 John Jacob Astor IV

John Jacob Astor IV.
10
Famous As: Businessman
Birthdate: July 13, 1864
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Rhinebeck
Died: April 15, 1912
Business tycoon, real-estate developer, and writer John Jacob "Jack" Astor IV had also served in the Spanish–American War. He belonged to the famed Astor family of New York. Astor died in the tragic sinking of the RMS Titanic in 1912 and was the richest passenger aboard the liner.

 16 Andrew William Mellon

Andrew William Mellon.
4
Famous As: Industrialist, Philanthropist
Birthdate: March 24, 1855
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: August 27, 1937

The son of wealthy Pittsburgh banker Thomas Mellon, Andrew William Mellon had followed in his father’s footsteps, to be a banker. He had also been the American ambassador to the U.K. and the American secretary of the treasury. He owned companies such as Alcoa, Old Overholt whiskey, and Gulf Oil.

 17 Anne Lister

Anne Lister.
4
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: April 3, 1791
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Halifax, West Yorkshire, England
Died: September 22, 1840

Apart from being a traveler and a mountaineer, Anne Lister was also known as the world’s "first modern lesbian". Nicknamed Gentleman Jack for her androgynous fashion, which almost always included the color black, she penned diaries that contained many secret codes that were deciphered much after her death.

 18 Milton S. Hershey

Milton S. Hershey.
4
Famous As: Confectioner & Philanthropist
Birthdate: September 13, 1857
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Derry Township
Died: October 13, 1945

 19 George Hearst

George Hearst.
3
Famous As: Former United States Senator
Birthdate: September 3, 1820
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Sullivan, Missouri, United States
Died: February 28, 1891

 20 Henri Fayol

Henri Fayol.
3
Famous As: Industrialist, Management Thinker
Birthdate: July 29, 1841
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Constantinople, Ottoman Empire
Died: November 19, 1925

Henri Fayol was a French mining engineer, author, mining executive, and director of mines. He is credited with developing a theory of business administration called Fayolism. Along with Frederick Winslow Taylor, Henri Fayol is credited with founding modern management methods.

 21 Louis Vuitton

Louis Vuitton.
3
Famous As: Businessman
Birthdate: August 4, 1821
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: France
Died: February 27, 1892

After losing his parents at 10, Louis Vuitton ran away to Paris, where he gained repute as a box-maker/packer, and was even hired by Napoleon III’s wife, Empress Eugénie de Montijo. He then founded the iconic French fashion and luxury goods brand Louis Vuitton, which now operates in 50 countries.

 22 Isidor Straus

Isidor Straus.
3
Famous As: Businessman
Birthdate: February 6, 1845
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Palatinate
Died: April 15, 1912

 23 Amadeo Giannini

Amadeo Giannini
2
Famous As: Banker, Entrepreneur
Birthdate: May 6, 1870
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: San Jose
Died: June 3, 1949

 24 Harry Gordon Selfridge

Harry Gordon Selfridge
4
Famous As: business magnate
Birthdate: January 11, 1856
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Ripon
Died: May 8, 1947

 25 William Henry Vanderbilt

William Henry Vanderbilt
3
Famous As: Businessman
Birthdate: May 8, 1821
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: New Brunswick, New Jersey, United States
Died: December 8, 1885

 26 Jacob Schiff

Jacob Schiff
2
Famous As: Banker, Financier
Birthdate: January 10, 1847
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Frankfurt
Died: September 25, 1920

 27 Eddie Rickenbacker

Eddie Rickenbacker.
3
Famous As: Aviator, Racecar Driver, Military Personnel
Birthdate: October 8, 1890
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Columbus, Ohio, US
Died: July 23, 1973

 28 John D. Rockefeller Jr.

John D. Rockefeller Jr..
5
Famous As: Philanthropist & Businessman
Birthdate: January 29, 1874
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Cleveland, Ohio
Died: May 11, 1960

Financier and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller Jr. Was the only son of Standard Oil co-founder, John D. Rockefeller. An alumnus of Brown University, he was very principled and careful with money from an early age. He joined his father’s business and went on to become one of the largest real estate holders in Manhattan.

 29 Samuel Colt

Samuel Colt.
3
Famous As: Inventor
Birthdate: July 19, 1814
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Hartford, Connecticut, United States
Died: January 10, 1862

 30 J. P. Morgan Jr.

J. P. Morgan Jr..
3
Famous As: Banker
Birthdate: September 7, 1867
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Irvington, New York, United States
Died: March 13, 1943

 31 C. D. Deshmukh

C. D. Deshmukh
2
Famous As: Banker
Birthdate: January 14, 1896
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Mahad
Died: October 2, 1982

 32 Will Keith Kellogg

Will Keith Kellogg.
3
Famous As: Founder of the Kellogg Company
Birthdate: April 7, 1860
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Battle Creek
Died: October 6, 1951

 33 Thomas C. Durant

Thomas C. Durant.
3
Famous As: Investor
Birthdate: February 6, 1820
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Lee, Massachusetts, United States
Died: October 5, 1885

 34 Jay Gould

Jay Gould.
3
Famous As: Businessman
Birthdate: May 27, 1836
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Roxbury, New York
Died: December 2, 1892

 35 Elizabeth Arden

Elizabeth Arden
3
Famous As: Cosmetologist
Birthdate: December 31, 1878
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Woodbridge, Ontario, Canada
Died: October 18, 1966

 36 Leland Stanford

Leland Stanford
3
Famous As: Entrepreneur
Birthdate: March 9, 1824
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Watervliet, New York, United States
Died: June 21, 1893

 37 Thomas Cook

Thomas Cook.
3
Famous As: Businessman
Birthdate: November 22, 1808
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Melbourne, Derbyshire, England
Died: July 18, 1892

 38 Nathan Meyer Rothschild

Nathan Meyer Rothschild
3
Famous As: Banker
Birthdate: September 16, 1777
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Free City of Frankfurt Frankfurt, Holy Roman Empire
Died: July 28, 1836

 39 James Forrestal

James Forrestal
3
Famous As: Officer, Banker, Investment banker
Birthdate: February 15, 1892
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Beacon
Died: May 22, 1949

 40 Louis Chevrolet

Louis Chevrolet.
3
Famous As: Founder of the Chevrolet Motor Car Company
Birthdate: December 25, 1878
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: La Chaux-de-Fonds, Canton of Neuchâtel, Switzerland
Died: June 6, 1941

Louis Chevrolet was a Swiss race car driver. He is credited with co-founding the Chevrolet Motor Car Company, which is currently a major manufacturer of cars. He is also credited with founding the Frontenac Motor Corporation. Louis Chevrolet was inducted into several halls of fame, including the International Motorsports Hall of Fame and Motorsports Hall of Fame of America.

 41 Harry Warner

Harry Warner.
3
Famous As: Executive
Birthdate: December 12, 1881
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Krasnosielc
Died: December 27, 1958

 42 Albert Göring

Albert Göring
3
Famous As: Mechanical engineer
Birthdate: March 9, 1895
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Friedenau
Died: December 20, 1966

 43 C. W. Post

C. W. Post
3
Famous As: Nutritionist
Birthdate: October 26, 1854
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Springfield, Illinois, United States
Died: May 9, 1914

 44 Dorabji Tata

Dorabji Tata
2
Birthdate: August 27, 1859
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Mumbai
Died: June 3, 1932

 45 Cornelius Vanderbilt II

Cornelius Vanderbilt II
3
Famous As: Businessperson
Birthdate: November 11, 1843
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Staten Island, New York, United States
Died: September 12, 1899

 46 Timothy Dexter

Timothy Dexter
3
Famous As: Businessman
Birthdate: January 22, 1747
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Malden, Massachusetts, United States
Died: October 23, 1806

 47 Henry J. Kaiser

Henry J. Kaiser
3
Famous As: Engineer, Entrepreneur, Philanthropist
Birthdate: May 9, 1882
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Sprout Brook
Died: August 24, 1967

 48 Jolie Gabor

Jolie Gabor.
3
Famous As: Entrepreneur, Socialite
Birthdate: September 29, 1896
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Budapest
Died: April 1, 1997

 49 H. L. Hunt

H. L. Hunt.
4
Famous As: Businessman
Birthdate: February 17, 1889
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Illinois
Died: November 29, 1974

 50 Charles M. Schwab

Charles M. Schwab.
4
Famous As: American Steel Magnate & Businessman
Birthdate: February 18, 1862
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Williamsburg, Pennsylvania
Died: October 18, 1939