Andrew Carnegie was a Scottish immigrant and is famous for his career as a steel maker. He and his family were both very poor and had immigrated to Pennsylvania because, in Scotland, starvation had become a threat.
Andrew Carnegie was born in Scotland, a lived in a weaver’s cottage shared with another family. They immigrated to Pennsylvania in 1848 when the hard times hit Scotland. He took a job at the age of thirteen, and his job was to change spools of thread in a cotton mill. He worked twelve hours a day, six days a week, for about 20 cents a day. That would be around a few dollars every day, so little! At the age of 15, Andrew Carnegie became a telegraph messenger boy for around 45 cents a day, which was still low for a boy who was supposed to help support a family. And at the age of 18, he was ascending through the ranks of the Pennsylvania railroad company, and had become a division superintendent. He memorized many important people’s faces and made tons of friends.
Andrew Carnegie’s mentor started to teach him about business and helped make him his first few investments.
Andrew Carnegie’s first few investments paid off, and in 1864 he invested in oil. After the war between the states, Andrew Carnegie focused on Iron and Steel. All those investments he made paid off. Andrew Carnegie was famous for saying, “Watch the costs and the profits will take care of themselves.”
Andrew Carnegie practiced Vertical Integration, which was when you would buy the producers of something you used. Someone else named John D. Rockefeller practiced this to the extreme. Rockefeller produced oil, and he decided to buy the company who made the barrels for him, and he also bought the forests which produced the wood he needed. Andrew Carnegie believed in Merit based securing, and incentive-based pay. The Employees who figured some way to save money were rewarded and their pay raised. Andrew Carnegie was an Aggressive competitor and was also a philanthropist. He built Local libraries, paid education fees, and science related ones, build the Carnegie Mellon university, Carnegie Hall, and much more. In fact, at his death, he had given away around 350 million dollars, which is around 5 billion in today’s dollars.
Andrew Carnegie was very efficient at producing steel. In fact, when England sold their steel at 56$ per ton, Andrew Carnegie’s company, Carnegie Steel sold steel for 11.50$ per ton! They outstripped the entire production of steel from England, and since their prices were so low, the consumers benefited! Maybe not England though… Later Carnegie Steel was sold to somewhere called J.P Morgan, who made Carnegie Steel the first billion dollar company, which is so much more than it is now. Carnegie Steel’s name was changed to U.S. Steel and later was given to Charles Schwab, who was Andrew Carnegie’s protege. But because Schwab was interested in things like gambling, he soon was ousted from U.S. Steel and moved to a much smaller company called Bethlehem Steel Co. And yes, soon after the switch Schwab brought some of Andrew Carnegie’s ways to Bethlehem Steel and Bethlehem Steel soon became a pretty big company.
Andrew Carnegie was a very important person, and there are a few things I learned from him. I learned that it is good to start working young and that it is important to make friends who last a lifetime.