John Booth and Frederick Weyerhaeuser

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  • Topic: Booth, John Rudolphus Booth, Canada Atlantic Railway
  • Pages : 5 (1795 words )
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  • Published : December 2, 2012
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Lumber Kings of the 19th Century- John R. Booth and Frederick Weyerhaeuser John Rudolphus Booth (1827-1925) and Frederick Weyerhaeuser (1843-1914) were two well-known entrepreneurs of the North American lumber industry in the 19th century. They are very contrasting characters that appear to have nothing in common. They are from different parts of the world; Booth is Canadian and Weyerhaeuser is German. They did not share the same faith or educational background. Booth was Presbyterian and went to a local county school. Weyerhaeuser was Protestant and went to a Lutheran school till the age of fourteen. One might look at them and presume that they were different from each other as night and day. However, when looking at such influential characters, it is unimaginable not to notice their striking similarities. They were brought up on farms and their families did not own much wealth. They were both exposed to work at a young age and possessed a knack for business. There may be a common misconception that one must be well-educated or come from a wealthy family or have a defined list of qualities to be a successful entrepreneur. Contrary to that belief business activity transcends social class, faith, educational and family background, and the success of an entrepreneur depends on sheer passion and drive. Business leaders are susceptible to the volatility of the business market and make decisions based on their managerial style and personality. In this essay, I will compare the business careers of John R. Booth and Frederick Weyerhaeuser, and illustrate how they became the ‘Kings of the Lumber Industry’. With little or no capital in his hands, John R. Booth ventured out of his hometown. John Booth went to the state of Vermont and found a job as a carpenter at the Central Vermont Railway where he would help build bridges. He also dabbled in construction work of a paper mill and a saw mill near Hull. He got his first taste of business at this saw mill since the owner, Andrew Leamy, appointed him as the manager. After Booth left this job he went on to start his own business and thus became an entrepreneur. Booth’s first business venture was a small machine shop that he bought but it was tragically burned down after 8 months. He next bought a mill and installed two shingle machines but the landlord wanted to raise the rent by the end of the year and Booth refused to continue his business there. He then came to Ottawa in 1854 with his wife where he discovered an unused mill in Chaudière Island and started his business again. In 1859 he received a contract to supply timber and lumber for the Parliament buildings. This contract was a success and a climatic point in Booth’s life; it provided him with the financial support he needed to widen his business. After his partnership with Albert W. Soper, an American lumberman, he bought more mills. He began to get a reputation of being a reliable businessman and this helped him get further capital. In 1867 he was able to buy pineries on the Madawaska River with the financial back-up from the Bank of British North America. In 1879 Booth came to the aid of the Canada Atlantic Railway. This move eased his lumber business in several ways, the major advantage being shipping . Thus the man who once had a capital of $9 in his pocket had now become a multi-millionaire.

J.R. Booth was reputable for many things during his time. One among them is his managerial style. He was a very hands-on boss and an autocratic leader. Booth kept away from political matters that were not pertinent to the industrial side of the economy. There are nuances to Booth’s character that are not readily perceived when looking upon his rugged personality. He was an autocratic leader but he cared for his workers; he paid them their full wages even though there was a strike in July 1910. He had a sort of humility to his personality. He did not consider himself superior and would prefer to supervise the workers rather...
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