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  Carnegie, Andrew
CANDIDATE DETAILS
AffiliationIndependent  
 
NameAndrew Carnegie
Address
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania , United States
EmailNone
Websitehttp://www.carnegie.org/
Born November 25, 1835
DiedAugust 11, 1919 (83 years)
ContributorThomas Walker
Last ModifedDr. Cynic
Jan 21, 2008 03:31pm
Tags Scottish -
InfoAndrew Carnegie (November 25, 1835–August 11, 1919) was a Scottish-American businessman and major philanthropist.

Carnegie was born in Dunfermline, Scotland into a weaver's family. In 1848 his father, who had been a Chartist, immigrated to America, settling in Allegheny, Pennsylvania. Young Carnegie started work at an early age as a bobbin boy in a cotton mill, and a few years later was engaged as a telegraph clerk and operator with the Atlantic and Ohio Company. He was noted as one of the first operators to read telegraphic signals by sound. His ability as a worker was noted by Thomas A. Scott of the Pennsylvania Railroad, who employed him as a secretary. In 1859, when Scott became vice-president of the company, he made Carnegie superintendent of the western division of the line. In this post Carnegie was responsible for several improvements in the service. When the American Civil War opened in 1861, he accompanied Scott, then Assistant United States Secretary of War, to the front.

While in this position he met also George Pullman, inventor of the sleeping car. Carnegie immediately recognized the great merit of the invention and readily joined in the effort for its adoption. The first sources of the enormous wealth he subsequently attained were his introduction of sleeping cars for railways, and his purchase in 1864 of Storey Farm on Oil Creek, in Venango County, Pennsylvania, which cost $40,000, and yielded in one year over $1,000,000 in cash dividends, and where the oil wells secured a large profit. Carnegie was subsequently associated with others in establishing a steel rolling mill.

But all this was only a preliminary to the success attending his development of the iron and steel industries at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Carnegie made his fortune in the steel industry, controlling the most extensive and complete system of iron and steel industries ever managed by an individual. His great innovation was in the cheap and efficient mass production of steel rails for railroad lines.

Carnegie's empire would later embrace the Edgar Thomson Steel Works, (named for John Edgar Thomson, Carnegie's former boss and president of the Pennsylvania Railroad), Pittsburgh Bessemer Steel Works, the Lucy Furnaces, the Union Iron Mills, the Union Mill (Wilson, Walker & County), the Keystone Bridge Works, the Hartman Steel Works, the Frick Coke Company and the Scotia ore mines. In the late 1880s Carnegie Steel was the largest manufacturer of pig-iron, steel-rails and coke in the world, with a capacity to produce approximately 2,000 tons of pig-metal a day. In 1888 he bought the rival Homestead Steel Works, which included an extensive plant served by tributary coal and iron fields, a railway 425 miles long, and a line of lake steamships.

As years went by, the various Carnegie companies represented in this industry prospered to such an extent that in 1901, he sold his steel holdings to a group of New York-based financiers led by J. Pierpont Morgan for $250 million. The buyout, which was negotiated in secret by Charles M. Schwab (no relation to Charles R. Schwab, the brokerage house founder), was the largest such industrial takeover in the United States at the time. The holdings were incorporated in the United States Steel Corporation, a trust organized by J.P. Morgan, and Carnegie himself retired from business. He was bought out at a figure equivalent to a capital of approximately $480 million, which is the largest personal commercial transaction to date.

At the height of his career, he was the second richest person in the world, behind only John D. Rockefeller.

Andrew Carnegie spent his last years as a philanthropist. By the time he died in Lenox, Massachusetts, Carnegie had given away $350,695,653. At his death, the last $30,000,000 was likewise given away to foundations, charities and to pensioners.

He is interred in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Sleepy Hollow, New York.

First Appeared on a United States Postage Stamp in 1960.
Vote totals for elections in which was nominated for the Hall of Fame for Great Americans (1900-1965): 1945-10, 1950-23, 1955-49, 1960-65, 1965-45.

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