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Financing railroads

In November 1879, private banking firm Drexel, Morgan & Co. successfully sold a block of William Vanderbilt's New York Central Railroad stock when he decided to liquidate his inheritance from his father, Cornelius Vanderbilt.

railroadIn November 1879, the merchant banking partnership of Drexel, Morgan & Co. gained prominence by selling stock in William Vanderbilt’s New York Central Railroad company without driving down the share price. The deal, which involved the largest block of stock ever publicly offered at that time, emphasized Morgan’s strength as a mobilizer of capital and wholesaler of securities. From that point forward, the firm was closely associated with the railroad industry.

Just 12 months later, Drexel, Morgan & Co. led a syndicate that sold $40 million of Northern Pacific bonds. The proceeds financed the completion of the Northern Pacific Railroad, which linked east central Montana with the Pacific Coast, and was at the time the largest transaction in railroad bonds in the U.S.


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