SPRECKELS, CLAUS (1828-1908), American capitalist, was born in Lanstedt, Hanover, in 1828. In 1846, to escape army service, he emigrated to the United States and became a grocer. In 1856 he removed from New York City to San Francisco, where he set up as a grocer, then a brewer, and later a sugar refiner. He gradually obtained control of most of the sugar refineries on the Pacific coast ; he was able to undersell his competitors because he bought his raw sugar in Hawaii, where he purchased large plantations and contracted for the produce of others. He built a large refinery in Hawaii, and his influence with the Hawaiian government was for a time paramount. By financing the Pacific Steamship Company he was able to reduce the freight charges on his sugar, and he also introduced various improvements in the methods of manufacture. It was he who built the railway from Salinas to San Francisco, by buying which the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe first made a through line into San Francisco. Spreckels died in San Francisco on the 26th of December 1908. His eldest son, John Diedrich Spreckels (b. 1853), became proprietor of the San Francisco Morning Call and succeeded to his father's steamship interests; and another son, Rudolph Spreckels (1873- ), became president of the First National Bank of San Francisco.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)