Andrew Carnegie

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Andrew Carnegie Andrew Carnegie

Andrew Carnegie ( English [ ˈændruː kɑː (r) ˈneɪɡi ]; born November 25, 1835 in Dunfermline , County Fife , Scotland , United Kingdom ; † August 11, 1919 in Lenox , Massachusetts ) was an American tycoon in the steel industry .

Carnegie was one of the richest people of his time. He was also famous as a philanthropist , donating more than $ 350 million in total, which is roughly $ 9.7 billion today.



Carnegie's birthplace in Dunfermline

Andrew Carnegie in 1835 in the Scottish town of Dunfermline , the son of Weber's William Carnegie was born and Margaret Morrison, daughter of the shoemaker and tanner Thomas Morrison. He did not start school until he was eight. His parents had let him decide for himself when to start school.

The employment situation for Carnegie's father worsened as the onset of mechanization made hand weaving increasingly unprofitable. In 1848 the family emigrated to the United States and settled in the town of Allegheny , now a part of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania .

First work experience

At the age of 13, Carnegie was already working as a bobbin winder in a cotton mill. There he made $ 1.20 a week. In addition to his twelve-hour workday, he studied at an evening school.

At the age of 14 Carnegie moved to a telegraph office in Pittsburgh and learned to telegraph there . It was there that the head of the Western Division of the Pennsylvania Railroad, Thomas A. Scott, became aware of Carnegie's abilities and made him his secretary. Carnegie rose in the company to the position of chief of the Pittsburgh railroad area. When Scott became assistant secretary of war in the American Civil War, Carnegie took him to Washington, DC and worked as his right hand man. Part of Carnegie's job was to organize the military telegraph system.

Investing in steel

Andrew Carnegie

After the war, Andrew Carnegie inherited the management of the Western Division of the Pennsylvania Railroad from Thomas A. Scott. In 1865, Andrew Carnegie left the railroad to start his own business. Carnegie cleverly invested in various businesses, including several ironworks and ironworks. The main investment of which was a 20% stake in Keystone Bridge . During regular visits to Great Britain he noticed the rapid development in the iron industry. Henry Bessemer converter from pig iron in steel impressed him, and he realized that steel cast iron would replace in the production of heavy goods. In 1870 he built his first blast furnace using the ideas developed by Bessemer. In 1873 Carnegie built a steel mill, which he named after the president of his former employer the Pennsylvania Railroad, J. Edgar Thompson . This was a clever idea, because shortly after the construction, Carnegie received a major order from the same company.

Although he brought several partners into his company, Carnegie always insisted on holding the majority in his company. He retained this majority when he merged his company with that of Henry Clay Frick in 1881 . Carnegie was previously one of the best customers of the coke producer Frick and achieved a worthwhile vertical integration of the two companies through the merger .

In 1889 Carnegie withdrew from the operational business and left the management to his business partner Henry Clay Frick. At that time the company consisted of several steel mills and blast furnaces in the Pittsburgh area. In 1892 Frick combined all parts of the business in the Carnegie Steel Company . The company was the largest steel company in the world at the time. In order to increase profits, Frick lowered workers' wages. Workers, led by the Amalgamated Iron and Steel Workers Union , went on strike at the Homestead plant . While Carnegie was staying at his summer residence at Skibo Castle in Scotland , the conflict escalated when Frick had 300 strikers brought into the plant. Ten people died and 60 others were injured in the armed struggle until the governor declared Homestead to be martial law. Carnegie was angry with Frick for disregarding Carnegie's instructions not to use scabs. He did not criticize Frick publicly and had to take personal responsibility for the incidents.

Further conflicts between Frick and Carnegie led to Carnegie buying Frick's stake in the company for 15 million US dollars in 1899.

When Carnegie retired in 1901, he sold his company to the banker JP Morgan for $ 480 million . He and Elbert H. Gary founded the US Steel company in 1901 by merging Carnegie's steel production facilities with their own, which were part of the Federal Steel Company.

In terms of purchasing power in 2014, he had a fortune of 372 billion US dollars, making him the third richest US citizen after John D. Rockefeller and Cornelius Vanderbilt .

Andrew Carnegie died in Lenox in 1919. He was buried in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Tarrytown .

Philanthropic work

Andrew Carnegie's philanthropy. Caricature by Louis Dalrymple in Puck Magazine , 1903


In his essay The Gospel of Wealth , published in 1889, Carnegie wrote: “The man who dies rich dies in shame.” True to this motto, Carnegie established numerous foundations in the United States and Europe, some of which were active in a wide variety of fields or are still in some cases . In an article for The North American Review in 1889, he described where he thought philanthropy was worthwhile. Carnegie wanted to help the hardworking and ambitious to help themselves. His penchant for philanthropy set him apart from many other multimillionaires of his time. Joseph Frazier Wall and Harold C. Livesay explain his commitment by the fact that he got to know the ideas of Chartism as a boy in Scotland through his father and an uncle .

The US publicist Matthew Josephson listed Carnegie in his 1934 book "The Robber Barons: The Great American Capitalists, 1861-1901" as a negative example of immoral behavior in the economy.

Carnegie Hero Trust Funds

Impressed by the courageous actions of two men who in 1904 rescued many people trapped in a mine accident at risk of death, but died together with 179 other men, he founded Carnegie Hero Trust Funds in eleven countries , which were supposed to honor particularly selfless people. The foundations also provide financial aid to injured rescuers or the relatives of deceased rescuers. Carnegie established the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission as the first Hero Trust Fund in America in 1904.

Foundation for International Peace

In 1910, Carnegie made ten million US dollars available for an endowment under the name Carnegie Endowment for International Peace , largely persuaded by the philosopher and peace activist Nicholas Murray Butler . On November 25, 1910, his 75th birthday, Carnegie announced the establishment of the foundation. Carnegie selected former Foreign and War Secretary Elihu Root , who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1912, as the Foundation's first president . The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace was one of the most important financial pillars of international peace work in the following years.

Carnegie was previously in 1898 (as the only entrepreneur) co-founder of the American Anti-Imperialist League, which fought against the Spanish-American War and the Philippine-American War .

Public libraries

Main article: Carnegie Library

Carnegie Library in Brentford, England

Carnegie wanted everyone to have access to a free public library so that everyone could get an education. In the United States, Carnegie - or the Carnegie Corporation - supported the establishment of a total of 1,681 public libraries between 1889 and 1923. In doing so, Carnegie made a great contribution to the growth of the public library system. In total, he donated over $ 56 million to build 2,509 libraries.


The Carnegie Institute of Technology (now called Carnegie Mellon University , after the merger with the Mellon Institute ) was founded in 1900 with a ten million dollar donation from Andrew Carnegie. Carnegie wanted to build a world class technical school for the children of the Pittsburgh steelworkers.

On January 28, 1902, he donated another ten million US dollars for scientific purposes. This donation gave birth to the Carnegie Institution of Washington (now the Carnegie Institution for Science), which is known, among other things, for describing the embryological Carnegie stages .

Carnegie Corporation of New York

With $ 125 million in seed money representing the bulk of his remaining fortune, Andrew Carnegie founded the Carnegie Corporation of New York charitable foundation in 1911 . It was the last foundation Carnegie set up, and it was designed to manage the remaining assets for the advancement of Carnegie's philanthropic goals.

The foundation, which Carnegie ran as its president until his death in 1919, remains active to this day and has made $ 1.35 billion in grants since its inception.

Teacher fund

Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association - College Retirement Equities Fund

Cultural promotion

Carnegie Hall

In the spring of 1887, the director of the New York Symphony Society and the Oratorio Society of New York, Walter Damrosch , then 25 , met Andrew Carnegie on a boat trip from New York to London. Carnegie was on her honeymoon in Scotland with his wife, Louise Whitfield . The Carnegies and Damroschs became friends and together they came up with the idea of Carnegie Hall , construction of which began in 1890. Andrew Carnegie financed the construction of the concert hall and over many years paid for the losses caused by the operation of the house. Carnegie Hall has now established itself as one of the world's most important concert halls.

Pittencrieff Park

Carnegie donated Pittencrieff Park to his hometown Dunfermline with Pittencrieff House in the city center in close proximity to the castle and cathedral. The well-tended, spacious park also includes a small botanical garden and is open to the public for relaxation all year round.

Carnegie International

Carnegie founded the oldest North American exhibition of international contemporary art, Carnegie International .


  • The CILIP (Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals) awards the Carnegie Medal annually for outstanding books for children and young people.
  • The Carnegie Range , a mountain range in Antarctica, has been named after him since 2003 .


In the biography of Peter Krass it is described that there was no place in Carnegie's image of American society for mention of cotton and iron workers 'revolts in which the police were inferior, not a word of slavery, or of Indians' resettlement, or of the Women's suffrage. Andy had a selective memory; he preferred to ignore America's dark side. He made millions with his steel mills, while the workers he exploited perished by the dozen. He showed no empathy for his relatives or his Scottish origins.


Individual evidence

  1. ^ John C. Wells : Longman Pronunciation Dictionary. Harlow, England: Pearson Education Ltd., 2000.
  2. Andrew Carnegie: The Best Fields for Philanthropy. In: The North American Review. Vol. 149, No. 397, pp. 682-699 ( The North American Review Volume 0149 Issue 397 (December 1889) ) .
  3. ^ Joseph Frazier Wall: Andrew Carnegie. University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh 1989, ISBN 978-0-8229-5904-5 .
  4. ^ Harold C. Livesay, Andrew Carnegie and The Rise of Big Business. Addison-Wesley, Norwalk, Connecticut 1988, ISBN 978-0-321-43287-2 .
  5. Andrew Carnegie: The Truth About Wealth and Money. Oesch Verlag, Zurich 2000, p. 203 (from the afterword by Mario Florin), ISBN 978-3-85833-581-4 .
  6. ^ The World of 1898. The Spanish-American War. Anti-imperialist league. In: Library of Congress.
  7. ^ Howard Zinn : A People's History of the United States . Harper Perennial, New York 2005, ISBN 978-0-06-083865-2 , pp. 311 and 314.
  8. Pittencrieff Park, Dunfermline, Fife .
  9. Krass, Peter: Carnegie. Hoboken, New Jersey, John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 2002 page 47; so far only published in English, but cited by: Manguel, Alberto: Die Bibliothek der Nacht. Frankfurt am Main, S. Fischer Verlag GmbH 2007, p. 117. Manguel also writes (p. 114) "[...] The motto was 'death to all privileges'. But as ruler of his own factories in Pittsburgh, Carnegie forced the workers to work seven days a week, gave them no vacation day except Christmas and July 4th, paid them stingy wages and let them live in filthy settlements where the drinking water ran right next to the sewer. A fifth of Carnegie's workers were killed in accidents. "


  • David Nasaw: Andrew Carnegie. Penguin, 2007, ISBN 978-0-14-311244-0 .
  • Les Standiford: Meet You in Hell: Andrew Carnegie, Henry Clay Frick, and the Bitter Partnership That Changed America. Three Rivers Press, 2006, ISBN 978-1-4000-4768-0 .
  • Beate Hörning: Volunteering in US Public Libraries. Dissertation. Berlin 2015. ( PDF; 10.8 MB), pp. 24–26 and 35–42.

Web links

Commons : Andrew Carnegie  - Album with pictures, videos and audio files
Wikisource: Andrew Carnegie  - Sources and full texts