Tuesday, December 27, 2011

andrew carnegie

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The life Andrew Carnegie led affects many of us in this country in one way or another. Andrew began his life as a poor Scottish immigrant, his mother working as a seamstress among other things and his father a weaver. In 1848 the Carnegie family left Dunfermline and got on a boat headed to the United States of America. Carnegie started out his working career as a bobbin boy. Many times with luck, but with a lot of hard work earned himself promotions and found higher paying jobs, eventually owning his own mill with well over 1,000 employees. He became one of the richest men in the world, eventually giving all his money away to benefit the lives of all those after him. Believing it was better to help the masses than to just die with lots of money in his bank account and leaving it to his family. He gave his money to start libraries, Universities and funds to keep educational programs going. Carnegie believed if he gave his money to places like this, his money would help others for generations to come. Carnegie, along w/ others helped redefine the expectations of other entrepreneurs & provided models for their activities.

Andrew Carnegie did not attend school until he was eight years of age. His parents told him he did not have to attend school until he felt he wanted to. It finally took the persuading of a local principal to get Andrew into school. At the point the Carnegies came to the US Andrew only had about 5 years of schooling, and he still overcame this to do extremely well at all the jobs he would have. Because of the many power looms in the cotton industry, Andrew’s father was pretty much driven to “unemployment”. Because of this Andrew’s mom would need to help out financially. Andrew’s mom decided to sell food and sew shoes during evenings to support the family. When a power weaving company opened up in their hometown, Magaret Carnegie decided it was time for the family to move to the United States. Borrowing money from a family friend the Carnegies took a boat to the US to New York City in 1848. After arriving in the US, the Carnegies had to manage their way by several boats to the city of Allegheny, PA, now knows as Pittsburgh.

Carnegies had to go to work once in the US in order to help support the family. His first job was that of a bobbin boy in a textile mill, owned by another Scotland native. His starting salary was $1.0 per week. On top of working long days in the mill, he decided to also attend night school, to work on his education. Carnegie eventually landed a job as a Messenger working for the O’Reilly Telegraph Company. On his own time he decided he would learn telegraphy, in hopes of eventually moving up in the company. . Carnegie was one of only a few people in the entire Country that knew how to read code by the sounds only, not needed the dots on the paper. This led to another promotion within the company. On a morning that the trains were getting all tangled up, because his boss arrived late that day, Carnegie took the initiative and decided to give out the orders as if they were coming from the boss. He got everything under control, which impressed his boss.

Andrew’s first investment came when he was only 16 years old. He invested $600 in Adams Express stock, earning a monthly dividend of 1%. Seeing the $10 come in without having to do one second of work, Andrew liked the idea of earning a living through investments. Carnegie’s boss from the telegraph company, Colonel Scott, was promoted to a Superintendent’s job with the Pennsylvania Railroad, taking Andrew with him. Moving up in the ladder, Colonel Scott, took Andrew with him on every promotion he received. Carnegie earned Superintendent of the Pittsburgh division by the young age of 4.

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Carnegies first major investment was that into the Sleeping car inventor, T.T. Woodruff. Carnegie actually set up a meeting with Woodruff and Scott, whom eventually created a company, giving Carnegie an interest in this company. When his first payment came due Andrew didn’t have the money. Wisely he borrowed it from a banker, paying him back at $15 per month. This move earned Carnegie $00,000 in profits from the Sleeping car business. Andrew’s next investment was in the development of an oil field, while on a vacation in Europe the company struck oil, earning Carnegie $50,000.

Carnegie on a trip to England saw the success being obtained with the Bessemer process, and decided to bring this idea to the United States. After bringing this process over, Carnegie became part owner in a few different steel companies, eventually combining them to form the Carnegie Steel Corporation. Carnegie always invested in the most current and top of the line inventions to ensure he could produce the most steel in the least amount of time. Since he was able to manufacture so much of the product, he was able to drastically undersell the competition in order to obtain their customers. Knowing this would lead to a larger quantity of sales, Carnegie took the initial lower profits only to gain huge when he owned nearly all of the steel production in the company.

Andrew’s visions of the future of steel is what made him the millionaire he became. Andrew seemed to know that the railroads were all going to switch to steel rails. With Carnegie steel making these available at such cheap rates it was a wise investment for the railroad companies and in turn this made Carnegie’s company keep growing and growing. The prices of steel per ton more than 50% in about a decade and Carnegies production rose 0 times. This led to huge profits by the company, and with Andrews insistence that the company put it’s profits back into making efficient products the company strived. Carnegie began buying out many other steel companies and also turning them into highly efficient operations. Carnegie pretty much had a huge monopoly going and it was making him rich beyond belief.

One of the companies that Carnegie bought was the Homestead Works, a very efficient steel company but had major labor problems, mainly due to the fact that it was a union mill. This part of the company eventually led to the Homestead Strike of 18. Carnegie did not believe in Unions, so when the strike came he decided the way to best deal with it was to shut the plant down and wait out the workers. Knowing the workers were not being paid very well he assumed they’d have to leave the union and come back to work. The strike led to a lot of violence and Carnegie left the country hoping his partners would resolve everything for him.

Carnegie had no desire to be in business any longer and really wanted to retire from the Steel industry. He eventually had enough of the business and wrote a handwritten sales offer to J.P. Morgan of $480,000,000. Morgan accepted and formed U.S. Steel in March of 101. This left Carnegie able to concentrate more on the writing he always wanted to do and basically spent much of the rest of his life giving his money away. It is widely thought that Carnegie gave away as much as $50,000,000 to many different causes. Below are some of the largest “donations” he made.

Library buildings $4,065,6.7

Other buildings 4,67,186.

Endowment ,77,588.

Other purposes 1,647,55.00


Church organs (7,68) 6,48,0.00

Carnegie Corporation of New York 15,000,000.00

Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching (including $1,000,000 to

Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association) ,50,000.000

Carnegie Institute (including $1,51,4.65 to Carnegie Institute of Technology) 6,71,80.67

Carnegie Institution of Washington ,00,000.00

Carnegie Hero Funds 10,540,000.00

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace 10,000,000.00

Scottish Universities Trust 10,000,000.00

United Kingdom Trust 10,000,000.00


The Carnegie Nobody Knows by George Swetnam & Helene Smith

Making American by Berkin, Miller, Cherny, Gormly





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