Andrew Carnegie

There is a widespread belief that all Scotchmen are tightwads and hold on to their money like a sick kitten to a hot brick. Well! Our history lesson today deals with a Scotchman who made a lot of money and gave it away with a free hand. He made the statement that it was a shame and a disgrace to die rich. Can you guess the name of this man who mad e millions in the steel business? Andrew Carnegie.
Andrew Carnegie was born in l835 at Dunfermline, Scotland. The house in which he was born only had two rooms. His father ran a weaving business on the ground floor and the family cooked, ate and slept in one small room upstairs. Andrew's first job, when he was old enough to work, paid him two cents an hour, not a very good start for a man who in his lifetime made a fortune of over 400 million dollars!
Coming to the United States with his poverty-stricken parents in l848, he began his career in Allegheny, Pennsylvania, as a bobbin boy in a cotton mill for $1.20 a week. His next job was as a messenger boy for the Pittsburgh telegraph. He learned Morse Code and at the age of l6 became a telegraph operator. He became a topnotch telegraph operator, and four years later when the Pennsylvania Railroad built a telegraph line of its own, Carnegie became its chief operator, then later private secretary and telegraph operator for the Divi sion Superintendent of the railroad.
On the train one day between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, a gentleman sat down beside Andrew Carnegie and introduced himself as George Pullman. He showed Carnegie a model of a sleeping car that he had invented. Andrew Carnegie saw the great potential in this new mode of travel and agreed to help him get his sleeping cars adopted by the railroads. He purchased a large block of stock and the venture was very successful. The Pullman Sleeping Car Company paid lar ge dividends. Andrew Carnegie was on his way to fame and fortune.
Carnegie next became Division Superintendent of the Pittsburgh Division of the Pennsylvania Railroad. One day an incident on the line brought a turning point in his life. A wooden bridge on the railroad line burned and tied up traffic for days. Carnegie realized that wooden bridges were doomed and he saw that iron and steel must replace the wooden bridges. He resigned from the railroad, borrowed money, formed a company, st arted building iron bridges, and soon profits began to pour in so fast he could hardly count his money.
This Scotch lad, son of a poor weaver, had the golden touch. Everything he touched turned to gold. He and some friends bought a farm in Western Pennsylvania for $40,000 and within a year, oil was discovered on their property and more than a million dollars was realized from the sale. By the time this canny Scot reached the age of 27, he had an income of a thousand dollars a week, and just l5 years before he had been working for 20 cents a day.
When the Civil War came along, Andrew Carnegie served as Superintendent of the Eastern Military Telegraph Lines, performing notable service for the Union forces. After the war, he devoted his time and energies to the iron, oil and steel business. He established the Union Iron Mills and for the next 30 years Andrew Carnegie, through leases, purchases and consolidations, controlled the bulk of United States steel production.
Big things were happening in the United States. The Civil War was over, frontiers were being pushed back, the far West was being opened up, railroads were being built all across the country. Cities were being built and America was on the threshold of a great era of expansion. Andy Carnegie, with smoke and flames belching from his steel furnaces, rode on a tidal wave of pr osperity, and kept on riding until he had acquired riches such as never dreamed of before in the history of mankind.
They say that Andy Carnegie never worked very hard, that he played around about half of the time. He said that most of his assistants and partners knew more than he did so he let them run the business. He was Scotch but not too Scotch. He let his partners and managers share in the profits of his various enterprises, and it was said that he made more millionaires than any other m an who ever lived up to that time.
Andrew Carnegie only went to school four years, but he was self-educated. He wrote eight books on travel, biography, essays and economics. In l901, Carnegie sold out his steel empire to the combine known as The United States Steel Corporation, retired and devoted the rest of his life to giving away the millions of dollars he had accumulated. All in all he is credited with giving away over 400 million dollars. I am sure that some of you here today can tell m e how some of this money was distributed. He built thousands of public libraries all across the United States and in England and Scotland, at a cost of between 60 and l00 million dollars. He set up a foundation for the advancement of education with 80 million dollars, and also a foundation for International Peace with an endowment of 50 to l00 million dollars. In all, it is estimated that he gave away over three hundred and sixty-five million dollars or one million dollars for every day of the year.
Newspapers ran contests and offered prizes to those who could best tell him how to give away his hoard of gold. One winner suggested gifts of pipe organs to churches of all denominations. Carnegie adopted this suggestion and gave over 7000 pipe organs to churches across the land. Andrew Carnegie died in Lenox, Massachusetts, in l9l9 at the age of 84. He was quite a guy and much of a man.

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