Business: Two-story Pyramid

In 1903, age 30, Harrison Williams emerged from an Ohio bicycle factory to try his hand in Wall Street. In 1906 he helped splice a group of Midwest and Southern utilities into American Gas & Electric Co., six years later created another holding company, Central States Electric Corp. Central States presently got working control of North American Co., itself a utility holding company, whose total assets today are $900,000,000. By 1924 Mr. Williams held 96% of Central States' stock. By 1929 its shares had been split 60-for-1, the value of a single original...

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