Did you know that the Pinkerton National Detective Agency — famed protector of Abraham Lincoln in the 1800’s, and union-busting goon squad in the 1900’s — is still around? And they have time to chase down Magic: the Gathering fans for using prohibited card sets? It’s true: Dan & Paul discuss the latest WOTC goony actions, other game-companies that lost their sanity checks, and more.
Pinkerton is a private security guard and detective agency established around 1850 in the United States by Scottish-born American cooper Allan Pinkerton and Chicago attorney Edward Rucker as the North-Western Police Agency, which later became Pinkerton & Co, and finally the Pinkerton National Detective Agency. It is currently a subsidiary of Swedish-based Securitas AB. Pinkerton became famous when he claimed to have foiled the Baltimore Plot to assassinate president-elect Abraham Lincoln in 1861. Lincoln later hired Pinkerton agents to conduct espionage against the Confederacy and act as his personal security during the American Civil War.
The Pinkerton National Detective Agency hired women and minorities from its founding because they were useful as spies, a practice uncommon at the time. At the height of their power, the Pinkerton Detective Agency was the largest private law enforcement organization in the world.
Following the Civil War, the Pinkertons began conducting operations against organized labor. During the labor strikes of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, businesses hired the Pinkerton Agency to infiltrate unions, supply guards, keep strikers and suspected unionists out of factories, and recruit goon squads to intimidate workers. During the Homestead Strike of 1892, Pinkerton agents were called in to reinforce the strikebreaking measures of industrialist Henry Clay Frick, who was acting on behalf of Andrew Carnegie, the head of Carnegie Steel. Tensions between the workers and strikebreakers erupted into violence which led to the deaths of three Pinkerton agents and nine steelworkers. During the late nineteenth century, the Pinkertons were also hired as guards in coal, iron, and lumber disputes in Illinois, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. Pinkertons were also involved in other strikes such as the Great Railroad Strike of 1877.
During the 20th century, Pinkerton rebranded itself into a personal security and risk management firm. The company has continued to exist in various forms through to the present day, and is now a division of the Swedish security company Securitas AB, operating as “Pinkerton Consulting & Investigations, Inc. d.b.a. Pinkerton Corporate Risk Management”. The former Government Services division, PGS, now operates as “Securitas Critical Infrastructure Services, Inc.”.
This description uses material from the Wikipedia article “Pinkerton (detective agency)“, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.