Who is Andrew Carnegie : Success and failure of Andrew Carnegie

Andrew Carnegie

Andrew Carnegie

Andrew Carnegie was born on November 25, 1835, in Dunfermline, Scotland. After moving to the United States, he worked a series of railroad jobs. By 1889 he owned Carnegie Steel Corporation, the largest of its kind in the world. In 1901 he sold his business and dedicated his time to expanding his philanthropic work, including the establishment of Carnegie-Mellon University in 1904.

QUOTES

“People who are unable to motivate themselves must be content with mediocrity, no matter how impressive their other talents.”

– Andrew Carnegie

Early Life

Industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie was born on November 25, 1835, in Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland. Although he had little formal education, Carnegie grew up in a family that believed in the importance of books and learning. The son of a handloom weaver, Carnegie grew up to become one of the wealthiest businessmen in America.

At the age of 13, in 1848, Carnegie came to the United States with his family. They settled in Allegheny, Pennsylvania, and Carnegie went to work in a factory, earning $1.20 a week. The next year he found a job as a telegraph messenger. Hoping to advance his career, he moved up to a telegraph operator position in 1851. He then took a job at the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1853. He worked as the assistant and telegrapher to Thomas Scott, one of the railroad’s top officials. Through this experience, he learned about the railroad industry and about business in general. Three years later, Carnegie was promoted to superintendent.

Steel Tycoon

While working for the railroad, Carnegie began making investments. He made many wise choices and found that his investments, especially those in oil, brought in substantial returns. He left the railroad in 1865 to focus on his other business interests, including the Keystone Bridge Company.

By the next decade, most of Carnegie’s time was dedicated to the steel industry. His business, which became known as the Carnegie Steel Company, revolutionized steel production in the United States. Carnegie built plants around the country, using technology and methods that made manufacturing steel easier, faster and more productive. For every step of the process, he owned exactly what he needed: the raw materials, ships and railroads for transporting the goods, and even coal fields to fuel the steel furnaces. This start-to-finish strategy helped Carnegie become the dominant force in the industry and an exceedingly wealthy man. It also made him known as one of America’s “builders,” as his business helped to fuel the economy and shape the nation into what it is today. By 1889, Carnegie Steel Corporation was the largest of its kind in the world.

Some felt that the company’s success came at the expense of its workers. The most notable case of this came in 1892. When the company tried to lower wages at a Carnegie Steel plant in Homestead, Pennsylvania, the employees objected. They refused to work, starting what has been called the Homestead Strike of 1892. The conflict between the workers and local managers turned violent after the managers called in guards to break up the union. While Carnegie was away at the time of strike, many still held him accountable for his managers’ actions.

Philanthropy

In 1901, Carnegie made a dramatic change in his life. He sold his business to the United States Steel Corporation, started by legendary financier J. P. Morgan. The sale earned him more than $200 million. At the age of 65, Carnegie decided to spend the rest of his days helping others. While he had begun his philanthropic work years earlier by building libraries and making donations, Carnegie expanded his efforts in the early twentieth century.

Carnegie, an avid reader for much of his life, donated approximately $5 million to the New York Public Library so that the library could open several branches in 1901. Devoted to learning, he established the Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh, which is now known as Carnegie-Mellon University in 1904. The next year, he created the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching in 1905. With his strong interest to peace, he formed the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in 1910. He made numerous other donations, and it is said that more than 2,800 libraries were opened with his support.

Besides his business and charitable interests, Carnegie enjoyed traveling and meeting and entertaining leading figures in many fields. He was friends with Matthew Arnold, Mark Twain, William Gladstone, and Theodore Roosevelt. Carnegie also wrote several books and numerous articles. His 1889 article “Wealth” outlined his view that those with great wealth must be socially responsible and use their assets to help others. This was later published as the 1900 book The Gospel of Wealth.

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Who is Henry Ford : Success and failure of Henry Ford

Henry Ford

Henry Ford

Born on July 30, 1863 on a Dearborn, Michigan farm, Henry Ford created the Ford Model T car in 1908 and went on to develop the assembly line mode of production, which revolutionized the industry. As a result, Ford sold millions of cars and became a world-famous company head. The company lost its market dominance but had a lasting impact on other technological development and U.S. infrastructure.

QUOTES

“The only history that is worth a tinker’s damn is the history we make today.”

– Henry Ford
Early Life

Automobile manufacturer Henry Ford was born on July 30, 1863, on his family’s farm near Dearborn, Michigan. When Henry was 15, his father gifted him a pocket watch, which the young boy promptly took apart and reassembled. Friends and neighbors were impressed and requested that he fix their timepieces too.

Unsatistfied with farm work, Ford left home the next year, at age 16, to take an apprenticeship as a machinist in Detroit. In the years that followed, he would learn to skillfully operate and service steam engines, and would also study bookkeeping.

Early Career

In 1888, Ford married Clara Ala Bryant and briefly returned to farming to support his wife and son, Edsel. But three years later, he was hired as an engineer for the Edison Illuminating Company. In 1883, his natural talents earned him a promotion to Chief Engineer.

All the while, Ford developed his plans for a horseless carriage, and in 1896, he constructed his first model, the Ford Quadricycle. Within the same year, he attended a meeting with Edison executives and found himself presenting his automobile plans to Thomas Edison. The lighting genius encouraged Ford to build a second and better model.

Ford Motor Company

After a few trials building cars and companies, in 1903, Henry Ford established the Ford Motor Company. Ford introduced the Model T in October of 1908, and for several years, the company posted 100 percent gains.

However, more than for his profits, Ford became renowned for his revolutionary vision: the manufacture of an inexpensive automobile made by skilled workers who earn steady wages.

In 1914, he sponsored the development of the moving assembly line technique of mass production. Simultaneously, he introduced the $5-per-day wage ($110 in 2011) as a method of keeping the best workers loyal to his company. Simple to drive and cheap to repair, half of all cars in America in 1918 were Model T’s.

Philosophy, Philanthropy and Anti-Semitism

From a social perspective, Henry Ford’s was marked by seemingly contradictory viewpoints. In business, Ford offered profit sharing to select employees who stayed with the company for six months and, most important, who conducted their lives in a respectable manner.

The company’s “Social Department” looked into an employee’s drinking, gambling and otherwise uncouth activities to determine eligibility for participation. Ford was also an ardent pacifist and opposed World War I, even funding a peace ship to Europe. Later, in 1936, Ford and his family established the Ford Foundation to provide ongoing grants for research, education and development. But despite these philanthropic leanings, Ford was also a committed anti-Semite, going as far as to support a weekly newspaper, The Dearborn Independent, which furthered such views.

Henry Ford died of a cerebral hemorrhage on April 7, 1947, at the age of 83, near his Dear-born estate, Fair Lane. Ford, considered one of America’s leading businessmen, is credited today for helping to build America’s economy during the nation’s vulnerable early years. His legacy will live on for decades to come.