Andrew Carnegie

Andrew Carnegie 2017-01-23T12:48:30-05:00

Biography of Andrew Carnegie

andrew carnegie portrait

Andrew Carnegie

Andrew Carnegie was born in Scotland in 1835 and his parents moved the family to the United States when Carnegie was 12 years old.

At the age of ten Carnegie began working in a cotton mill. Later, he worked as a messenger boy for a telegraph company. Carnegie’s wages were $1.25 per week. By the age of 13 Carnegie learned to run a steam engine and his wages increased to $1.80 per week. When asked of his early schooling he replied, “None, except such as I gave myself”.

A gentleman once advised young Carnegie to lend out books to working boys from his 400 volume library. Carnegie remarked, “I doubt if ever so few books were put to better use.” From this kind gesture was born the idea to allocate millions of dollars to found libraries.

Carnegie became a telegraph operator making $25 per month. He remained in this position until given a job as secretary to the railroad superintendent. When the superintendent was promoted to Vice President of the railroad, Carnegie became superintendent.

“Instead of saying what must I do for my employer.” Carnegie remarked that what you should rather say is “What can I do for my employer.” This attitude made all the difference. A man wanting to advance must do something exceptional. He must attract attention.”

Carnegie was very thrifty and at an early age he invested in a new venture, that of the sleeping car. Carnegie explained the importance of laying aside money from one’s earnings as a young man. He described a future millionaire as one whose revenues exceeds his expenditures.

Afterwards, Carnegie invested in oil wells. His investment of $40,000 became $1,000,000.

From the profits he received from oil wells, Carnegie founded a company for the construction of bridges and that led to the founding his steel industry.

Later Carnegie was able to combine several steel companies into U.S Steel, one of the world’s largest corporations. Carnegie is known for his charitable work throughout his life but he is especially known for the libraries he helped establish throughout the United States.

Carnegie died on August 11, 1919 in Lenox, Massachusetts. He had given away over 350 million dollars (over 4 billion dollars by today’s standards). He was buried at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in North Tarrytown, New York. The Carnegie Foundation is located in New York City and is dedicated to keeping alive the Carnegie legacy.