Andrew Carnegie Spark Notes

This essay has a total of 1175 words and 5 pages.

Andrew Carnegie


A man of Scotland, a distinguished citizen of the United States, and a philanthropist
devoted to the betterment of the world around him, Andrew Carnegie became famous at the
turn of the twentieth century and became a real life rags to riches story.


Born in Dunfermline, Scotland, on November 25, 1835, Andrew Carnegie entered the world in
poverty. The son of a hand weaver, Carnegie received his only formal education during the
short time between his birth and his move to the United States. When steam machinery for
weaving came into use, Carnegie’s father sold his looms and household goods, sailing to
America with his wife and two sons. At this time, Andrew was twelve, and his brother,
Thomas, was five. Arriving into New York on August 14, 1848, aboard the Wiscasset from
Glasgow, the Carnegies wasted little time settling in Allegheny City, Pennsylvania, a
suburb of Pittsburgh, where relatives already existed and were there to provide help.
Allegheny City provided Carnegie’s first job, as a bobbin boy in a cotton factory, working
for $1.20 a week. His father also worked there while his mother bound shoes at home,
making a miniscule amount of money. Although the Carnegies lacked in money, they abounded
in ideals and training for their children. At age 15, Carnegie became a telegraph
messenger boy in Pittsburgh. He learned to send and decipher telegraphic messages and
became a telegraph operator at the age of 17. Carnegie’s next job was as a railroad clerk,
working for the Pennsylvania Railroad. He worked his way up the ladder, through his
dedication and honest desire to succeed, to become train dispatcher and then division
manager. At this time, young Carnegie, age 24, had already made some small investments
that laid the foundations of his what would be tremendous fortune. One of these
investments was the purchase of stock in the Woodruff Sleeping Car Company.


In 1864, Carnegie entered the iron business, but did not begin to make steel until years
later. In 1873, he built the Edgar Thomson works in Braddock, Pennsylvania, to make
Bessemer steel. He established many other steel plants, and in 1892, he merged all of his
interests into the Carnegie Steel Company. This act from Carnegie is fitting with one of
his most famous quotations, “Put all of your eggs in one basket, and then watch that
basket.” This firm became one of the greatest industrial enterprises in America. Carnegie
later sold it to J.P. Morgan’s United States Steel Corporation in 1901 for $400 million,
which would be a little over $4 billion today!


After retiring, Carnegie’s fortune was estimated to be as large as half a billion dollars.
From that time on, with the philosophy that the rich have a moral obligation to give away
their money, he devoted himself to philanthropy. Although ironic, this man of great
fortune strongly believed in the merits of poverty for the development of character and
work ethic, and determined that wealthy men should not leave their fortunes to their
children, but should give it away, claiming “The man who dies thus rich, dies disgraced.”
Continues for 3 more pages >>




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