THE CHANCELLERIES: The New Manor Lords

About the time Communist Karl Marx finished writing Das Kapital, Capitalist Charles Pratt began selling "Pratt's Astral Oil." A high-grade lamp fuel, refined in Brooklyn from Pennsylvania petroleum, it became world-famed. Until Edison made his improvement, no one could read the Communist Manifesto, or anything else, under a mellower light. Onetime grocery clerk Pratt eventually joined up in Standard Oil with onetime bookkeeper Rockefeller. When he died in 1891, Pratt was Brooklyn's richest citizen, a solid, sharp-faced, goateed, philanthropic Baptist. To his six sons and two daughters he left an 800-acre...

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