In Munn v. Illinois the U.S. Supreme Court upheld state price regulation of grain elevators. The Court took some inspiration from Lord Mathew Hale's notion that a business "affected with a public interest" requires special regulatory attention. "Every ferry," Lord Hale wrote in the Seventeenth Century, "ought to be under public regulation, to wit: that it give attendance at due time, keep a boat in due order, and take a reasonable toll."
Jim Rossi & Morgan Ricks,
Foreword to Revisiting the Public Utility Symposium: Revisiting the Public Utility,
Yale J. on Reg.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/yjreg/vol35/iss3/1