Men Who Built America 4 (Andrew Carnegie)


After we have talked about the likes of Cornelius Vanderbilt and John D Rockefeller. The next in the line of men who built America is Andrew Carnegie. He was a business tycoon in the steel industry. He had a reputation for being among the richest men in the history of the world.


Andrew Carnegie’s business does not only made him one of the wealthiest men. It also helped in boosting the economy of the United States. This is the prerequisite for all the men that made the list of America’s builders. They were able to create an indelible imprint in the economy of America. 


Carnegie and investment opportunities 


Andrew Carnegie’s early life is worth studying because of the peculiarities attached to it. Carnegie was born in Scotland in the year 1835. His family moved to America when he was 13 years old. The Carnegie family settled down at Allegheny, Pennsylvania with their relatives. 


Carnegie as an industrious young man started working at the age of 13. He worked as a bobbin boy in a cotton mill factory. Later on,  Carnegie worked as an errand boy for a local telegraph company. Due to his consistent effort in learning, he was promoted to the position of the telegraph operator. He later became a telegraph operator for the Pennsylvania railroad where he later rose to become the Superintendent.


Thomas A Scott who was then a senior colleague of Carnegie introduced him to investment opportunities. He told him about a share opening at Adam Express Company. Carnegie with his wife mortgaged their house for $500 to secure these shares. This eventually became their source of income that made them a millionaire. 


On another occasion, Theodore Woodruff the owner of a sleeping car company approached him with another investment opportunity. Woodruff owned a Sleeping car company that he wanted Carnegie to invest in.  Carnegie secured a bank loan to invest and later on became the owner of the company. This is the beginning of Carnegie’s fortune as he was the first person to introduce a sleeping car in the US. 


Carnegie steel Company 


Andrew Carnegie at the age of 30 had amassed enough wealth through different investments to build his empire. In the year 1865, he started the Carnegie Steel Company. He was able to revolutionize the steel industry through the introduction of some business strategies.


The first skyscraper building in the history of the United State was built with Andrew Carnegie steel.  The first overhead bridge over a river in Mississippi was also built by Carnegie. 


There was a time when steel demand is very high across the United States. Carnegie identifying this,  built steel plant across the country to become a major supplier of steel.  He adopted series of technological methods to enhance the production of steel. To further enhance productivity, Carnegie secured needed facilities like raw materials, railroad, and coal fields. 


This strategy of being in control of major factors of production in the industry helped the Steel company to grow. The company eventually grew to become the largest of its kind in the world. Carnegie as well became one of the richest men at the time and was instrumental to the reshaping of America’s economy. 



Andrew Carnegie is a definition of a self-made wealthy man. He was able to achieve greatness by taking advantage of different investment opportunities. His strategy of being in control of resources contribute greatly to the growth of the Steel company. His wealth and contribution to the American economy earned him the America builder title. 


At the end of his life, Andrew Carnegie had a total net worth of $480 million which is equivalent to today’s $310 billion.  Andrew Carnegie’s desperate attempt to compete with Rockefeller was one of his shortcomings. His attempt to reduce the wages of staff in his company led to the Homestead strike of 1892. Carnegie donated a larger part of his wealth to the library building and other philanthropy acts. 




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