Andrew Carnegie was an intelligent Scottish immigrant that excelled in the steel and oil industries. He provided our country with inexpensive steel that allowed other industries to thrive. Carnegie was also a generous and well-known philanthropist.
Andrew Carnegie was born in Dunfermline, Scotland November 25, 1835. His parents, William and Margaret Carnegie, were impoverished iron mill workers. They immigrated to the United States in search of employment and opportunities in 1848.
Andrew Carnegie obtained a variety of occupations since his first arrival to America. His first job, at age thirteen, was a bobbin boy in a local cotton mill. At fifteen, Carnegie delivered telegrams for the Western Union. This job paid twenty-five dollars a month, which was considered a phenomenal amount of money at this time. At age 17, Carnegie had a job with the Pennsylvania Railroad. This job involved sending and receiving telegrams to benefit each train’s safety; he was now earning thirty-five dollars a month.
In the 1850’s the major form of transportation used was the railroad. People would take the train for traveling to different areas around the
country. Unfortunately, the ride to these distant destinations was quite uncomfortable. The passengers’ complaints increased.
Theodore Woodruff developed sleeping cars that introduced passengers to more comfortable rides. Through the persuasion of his boss, Carnegie bought a share in this particular company while working for the Pennsylvania Railroad. Carnegie’s boss urged him to purchase one-eighth share in this company. The share’s money supply sharply increased due to the excessive amount of railroad companies that wished to please their passengers.
From the success of his stock with the sleeping car company, Carnegie was able to place his money in other lucrative opportunities. At the age of twenty-four, Carnegie was soon aware of the oil being utilized by the Seneca Indians in Titsuville, Pennsylvania. Realizing his opportunity, Carnegie decided to buy land in a near by area. The oil on the land provided Carnegie and his brother with an ample supply of money. The land itself had increased in value by 125%.
In 1870, Carnegie changed his job to become an iron master. Carnegie transposed the old iron making procedure with his new routine. He
assiduously combined three ingredients ;#8211; iron ore, coke, and limestone ;#8211; to produce an essential product.
Iron manufacturers discovered that certain ores shouldn’t be combined with each other. By hiring a chemist, Carnegie’s ores were assorted into their specific group. Carnegie was then the first iron mill owner to have a chemist.
Carnegie assisted many companies with the makings of bridges, locomotives, and other products that relied on iron. Unfortunately, the iron’s ability for these diverse situations was turning out to be a complete fiasco. Carnegie saw that iron almost immediately wore out when used for bridges, and railroad lines. Carnegie continued this business for many years, but soon discovered that a new challenge would then arrive – steel.
Steel was then too expensive for nationwide use. In 1856, England began to manufacture steel using the Bessemer Process. The Bessemer Process burned out impurities by forcing compressed air through molten iron. Carnegie impatiently waited to observe if any Americans used this English process. Fortunately, a diminutive amount succeeded in doing so, because of the high prices needed to begin with.
Carnegie left America to travel to England and carefully watch the Bessemer Process in action. After many observations, Carnegie returned to America to start the steel industry.
After Carnegie returned to America, he formed a new company specifically for steel. Carnegie thought that his new steel mill should be located at Braddock’s Field near Pittsburgh, alongside the Monongahela River, and near two railroad lines. This allowed several ways to transport the steel.
Carnegie continued his business during the depression, through his determination to succeed. He knew that his new steel industry would survive, because he remained a friend with the boss of the Pennsylvania Railroad. This company would be a major customer of the strong steel product.
Instead of observing the work of his employees, Carnegie would spend the workday depending on his social abilities. He would attend meetings with several other major companies in order to assure opportunities for his own business.
In 1886, Carnegie bought a mill from local competitors in Homestead, Pennsylvania. At this time, many steel manufacturers produced steel
through the Bessemer Process. Carnegie now replaced this process with a more efficient one, which produced steel using an open-hearth furnace. This
produced quality steel in larger amounts. In 1888, Carnegie built the first open-hearth furnace in his Homestead mill.
Carnegie’s steel was being utilized by many companies to build typewriters, bicycles, railroads, stations, bridges, tractors, barbed wire, and even made the framework for the Home Insurance Company building in Chicago. Carnegie’s proudest accomplishment was the use of his steel to build the Washington Monument, which was completed in 1884.
Carnegie usually held a close relationship with his employees, but as the number of workers grew, his relationship between the workers decreased. In 1887, a strike broke out at one of Carnegie’s mills. The reason for the strike was that Carnegie decreased their income by ten percent. The reason for the decrease in salary was due to the decline in Carnegie’s business.
Carnegie closed down the mill for several weeks, and soon the workers formed an agreement. Unfortunately, Carnegie did not agree with their terms, and ordered the mill to be closed for several more weeks. The
workers decided by secret ballot to continue their work at the mill. Carnegie had won this dispute, but unfortunately another was soon to arise.
In 1892, the workers’ contracts were to be renewed. At this time, Carnegie was on vacation in Scotland, and chose the chief administrator, Henry Clay Frick, to look after the mill. Carnegie told him how to handle several problems, if any did occur.
In July 1982, the workers argued over their new contract, and were bound to start trouble. Frick ordered 250 security guards, two barges to block the river’s entrance, and barbed wire to surround the mill.
Many workers arrived the next day knowing Frick’s plan. The security guards were greeted with furious rioters and gun shots. The crowd was so furious, that they chased the guards back to the barges. They then filled the ship with burning oil and dynamite. The guards quickly surrendered. This was one of the worst labor disputes in American history.
Eventually the regular workers went back to their work at the mill, in need of money. In November 1892, the union announced that the strike was over, but unfortunately it was too late. The organization of this union never recovered, and Carnegie’s works never had any of these unions again.
After the depression of 1893, Carnegie continued to be productive and gained an additional 36,000,000. Around this time, trusts were being formed, making several business monopolies.
In 1900, John Pierpont Morgan was head of the National Tube Company. Carnegie decided to compete against Morgan by developing his
own tube making plant. Unexpectedly, Morgan offered to purchase Carnegie’s iron and steel empire. At first Carnegie rejected the offer, but eventually agreed to it. Carnegie sold his steel and iron empire for 480,000,000.
Now at the age of 65, Carnegie decided to do what he had planned to do thirty two years ago. He would now contribute his money to educational buildings, libraries, and colleges. He developed the Carnegie Institution of Washington, which provided money to international educational courses.
To conclude, Carnegie contributed to American society and the world by developing a method of producing steel assiduously and inexpensively. By developing this product, it allowed for other industries to grow. When he retired his business, he spent the last part of his life contributing to educational endeavors. He died in 1919, at age 84.