Andrew Carnegie nonpotus of the week

Early Life

Andrew Carnegie was born in Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland, UK on November 25th 1835. He was born in a typical weaver's cottage with only one main room, consisting of half the ground floor which was shared with the neighboring weaver's family. The main room served as a living room, dining room and bedroom. He was educated at the Free School in Dunfermline, which had been a gift to the town by the philanthropist Adam Rolland of Gask. When Carnegie was thirteen, his father had fallen on very hard times as a handloom weaver and with the country in starvation. His mother helped support the family by assisting her brother who was a cobbler and selling potted meats at her "sweetie shop". She eventually became the primary breadwinner by the 1840s.

Life In States

Struggling to make ends meet, the Carnegies then decided to move with his family to Allegheny, Pennsylvania, in the United States in 1848 for the prospect of a better life. Allegheny was a growing industrial area that produced many products including wool and cotton cloth. The "Made in Allegheny" label used on these and other diversified products was becoming more and more popular. His first job at age 13 in 1848 was as a bobbin boy, changing spools of thread in a cotton mill 12 hours a day, 6 days a week in a Pittsburgh cotton factory. His starting wage was $1.20 per week. Andrew's father started off working in a cotton mill but would then earn money weaving and peddling linens. His mother earned money by binding shoes.

Jobs and Railroads

In 1850, Carnegie became a telegraph messenger boy in the Pittsburgh Office of the Ohio Telegraph Company, at $2.50 per week. He was a very hard worker and would memorize all of the locations of Pittsburgh's businesses and the faces of important men. He made many connections this way. He also paid close attention to his work, and quickly learned to distinguish the differing sounds the incoming telegraph signals produced. He developed the ability to translate signals by ear, without using the paper slip.

His capacity, his willingness for hard work, his perseverance, and his alertness soon brought forth opportunities. Starting in 1853, Thomas A. Scott of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company employed Carnegie as a secretary/telegraph operator at a salary of $4.00 per week. Carnegie accepted this job with the railroad as he saw more prospects for career growth and experience with the railroad than with the telegraph company. At age 18, he became the superintendent of the Pittsburgh Division. His employment by the Pennsylvania Railroad Company would be vital to his later success. The railroads were the first big businesses in America, and the Pennsylvania was one of the largest of them all. Carnegie learned much about management and cost control during these years, and from Scott in particular. In 1855, Scott made it possible for Carnegie to invest $500 in the Adams Express, which contracted with the Pennsylvania to carry its messengers. The money was secured by his mother's placing a $600 mortgage on the family's $700 home, but the opportunity was available only because of Carnegie's close relationship with Scott. A few years later, he received a few shares in Theodore Tuttle Woodruff's sleeping car company, as a reward for holding shares that Woodruff had given to Scott and Thomson, as a payoff. Reinvesting his returns in such inside investments in railroad-related industries: (iron, bridges, and rails), Carnegie slowly accumulated capital, the basis for his later success. Throughout his later career, he made use of his close connections to Thomson and Scott, as he established businesses that supplied rails and bridges to the railroad, offering the two men a stake in his enterprises.

Civil War

In spring 1861, Carnegie was appointed by Scott, who was now Assistant Secretary of War in charge of military transportation, as Superintendent of the Military Railways and the Union Government's telegraph lines in the East. Carnegie helped open the rail lines into Washington D.C. that the rebels had cut; he rode the locomotive pulling the first brigade of Union troops to reach Washington D.C. Following the defeat of Union forces at Bull Run, he personally supervised the transportation of the defeated forces. Under his organization, the telegraph service rendered efficient service to the Union cause and significantly assisted in the eventual victory. Carnegie later joked that he was "the first casualty of the war" when he gained a scar on his cheek from freeing a trapped telegraph wire. Defeat of the Confederacy required vast supplies of munitions, as well as railroads (and telegraph lines) to deliver the goods. The war demonstrated how integral the industries were to American success.

Keystone Bridge Company

In 1864, Carnegie invested $40,000 in Story Farm on Oil Creek in Venango County, Pennsylvania. In one year, the farm yielded over $1,000,000 in cash dividends, and petroleum from oil wells on the property sold profitably. The demand for iron products, such as armor for gunboats, cannons, and shells, as well as a hundred other industrial products, made Pittsburgh a center of wartime production. Carnegie worked with others in establishing a steel rolling mill, and steel production and control of industry became the source of his fortune. Carnegie had some investments in the iron industry before the war.

After the war, Carnegie left the railroads to devote all his energies to the ironworks trade. Carnegie worked to develop several iron works, eventually forming The Keystone Bridge Works and the Union Ironworks, in Pittsburgh. Although he had left the Pennsylvania Railroad Company, he remained closely connected to its management, namely Thomas A. Scott and J. Edgar Thomson. He used his connection to the two men to acquire contracts for his Keystone Bridge Company and the rails produced by his ironworks. He also gave stock to Scott and Thomson in his businesses, and the Pennsylvania was his best customer. When he built his first steel plant, he made a point of naming it after Thomson.

Steel

Carnegie made his fortune in the steel industry, controlling the most extensive integrated iron and steel operations ever owned by an individual in the United States. One of his two great innovations was in the cheap and efficient mass production of steel by adopting and adapting the Bessemer process for steel making. Sir Henry Bessemer had invented the furnace which allowed the high carbon content of pig iron to be burnt away in a controlled and rapid way. The steel price dropped as a direct result, and Bessemer steel was rapidly adopted for rails; however, it was not suitable for buildings and bridges.

Later Life

Carnegie constructed commodious swimming-baths for the people of his hometown in Dunfermline in 1879. In the following year, Carnegie gave £8,000 for the establishment of a Dunfermline Carnegie Library in Scotland. In 1884, he gave $50,000 to Bellevue Hospital Medical College (now part of New York University Medical Center) to found a histological laboratory, now called the Carnegie Laboratory.

Among his many philanthropic efforts, the establishment of 3,000 public libraries throughout the United States, Britain, Canada and other English-speaking countries was especially prominent.

In 1900, Carnegie gave $2 million to start the Carnegie Institute of Technology (CIT) at Pittsburgh and the same amount in 1902 to found the Carnegie Institution at Washington, D.C. He later contributed more to these and other schools. CIT is now known as Carnegie Mellon University after it merged with the Mellon Institute of Industrial Research. Carnegie also served on the Board of Cornell University.

Death

Carnegie died on August 11, 1919, in Lenox, Massachusetts at his Shadow Brook estate, of bronchial pneumonia. He had already given away $350,695,653 (approximately $76.9 billion, adjusted to 2015 share of GDP figures) of his wealth. After his death, his last $30,000,000 was given to foundations, charities, and to pensioners

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