National Linseed Oil Trust

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The National Linseed Oil Trust of St. Louis, Missouri was a major company trust formed in 1885 to protect linseed oil interests in the United States.[1] Once used extensively in painting, the oil today is also commonly known as flax seed oil. The Trust was dissolved in 1920 after the U.S. Department of Justice charged they broke the Sherman Antitrust Act.[2] Omaha millionaire Clark Woodman was an influential director on the board.[3]


Viewed today as one of many imitators of the Standard Oil Company, the Linseed Oil Trust's peers included the Cotton Oil Trust, Lead Smeltering Trust and the Whiskey Trust.[4] At a peak in 1898 the Trust held $6,000,000 in assets over liabilities.[5] An early report by one of the founders stated that the Trust was initially founded for the social benefit of the members.[6]


The US Department of Justice brought suit against the Trust for violating the Sherman Antitrust Act. Several co-defendants were named, including the National Lead Company, Archer-Daniels Manufacturing Company, William O. Goodrich Company and the Sherwin-Williams Company. The suit alleged all of these companies were acting in collusion to raise prices, citing a spike in linseed oil costs between 1916 and 1918, when the price rose from $.50 per gallon to $1.80.[7]


  1. ^ Foner, P.S. (1964) History of the labor movement in the United States. International Publishers Company. p 13.
  2. ^ "Sues to dissolve Trust", New York Times. July 1, 1920. Retrieved 1/24/08.
  3. ^ "Clark Woodman found dead", New York Times. Retrieved 1/23/08.
  4. ^ Morris, C.R. (2005) The Tycoons: How Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, Jay Gould, And J.P. Morgan invented the American supereconomy. Times Books. p 194.
  5. ^ "Linseed Oil Trust: Assets said to be $6,000,000", New York Times. September 22, 1898. Retrieved 1/23/08.
  6. ^ Whiting Baker, C. (1899) Monopolies and the People. Xinware Corporation. p 15.
  7. ^ "Sues to dissolve Trust", New York Times. July 1, 1920. Retrieved 1/24/08.