Andrew Carnegie Biography

Andrew Carnegie

iron/steel manufacturer, philanthropist
Born: 11/25/1835
Birthplace: Dunfermline, Scotland

Though his formal education ended after elementary school, the family's respect for books and learning ensured that Carnegie's education would continue throughout his life. He eventually counted among his friends Matthew Arnold, Mark Twain, William Gladstone, and Theodore Roosevelt, each responsible for expanding his world view. The family immigrated to Allegheny (now Pittsburgh) Pennsylvania in 1848, where Carnegie went from being a bobbin boy in a factory to become a telegraph operator. It was in this capacity that he helped improve the Union Army's communications during the Civil War. He left the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1865 after 12 years to concentrate on his own businesses, the first being the Keystone Bridge Company, which made iron and steel. Carnegie shrewdly surrounded himself with intelligent advisors, made heavy investments new equipment, and maintained his ownership stake in all his enterprises, enabling him to exponentially increase his wealth. The Carnegie Steel Company was producing one-fourth of all steel in the U.S. by 1900, and was sold to U.S. Steel in 1901 for $250 million. Carnegie then retired to write books espousing social responsibility of the wealthy, and spent his final years giving away his substantial fortune to benefit the public with projects such as Carnegie Hall in New York, the Carnegie Institution of Washington, and over 2,800 libraries.

Died: 8/11/1919