Cornelius Vanderbilt

Nick Strauss


Vanderbilt came from a poor family in New York Harbor, where he worked with his father's ferry at a young age. He started his own business at the age of 16, and worked as a steamboat entrepreneur.

Vanderbilt saw the effectiveness of railroads and sold all of his steamboats to become a railroad entrepreneur. Vanderbilt would go on to become the undisputed king of the railroad industry, owning the most railroads during his lifetime.


  • Started his own business at the age of 16
  • Owned the most railroads during his time
  • Had a net-worth of $143 billion dollars in today's money
  • Vanderbilt gave 1 million dollars to charity, which was the biggest gift of money to charity at the time
  • Used the stock market to buy out railroads


  • Vanderbilt expanded the railroad system to become more sophisticated
  • Vanderbilt shipped more products then his competitors, allowing inventions such as Standard Oil to become great
  • Vanderbilt started Rockefeller and (indirectly) Carnegie off