Andrew Carnegie was a Scottish-American industrialist who led the massive expansion of the American steel industry in the late 19th century, making him one of the richest entrepreneurs of his era. He’s also very likely one of the most generous philanthropists of all-time, having given away over 74% of his wealth before he died in 1919. In this article, we will explore his life, career, earnings, net worth, education, partner, family, age, and bio, as well as some of the most frequently asked questions about him.
Early Life and Education
Carnegie was born on November 25th, 1835 in Dunfermline, Scotland to parents Margaret and William Carnegie. His upbringing was extremely modest. The family lived on a two-room cottage. The entire first floor of the cottage was his father William Carnegie’s work room for weaving fine cloths. The family lived entirely in the single room upper floor.
When he was 13 years old, his family immigrated to the United States, settling in Allegheny, Pennsylvania. There, he started working as a bobbin boy in a cotton factory, earning $1.20 per week. He later became a telegraph messenger, a telegraph operator, and a railroad clerk, learning various skills and making valuable connections along the way.
Carnegie had little formal education, but he was an avid reader and self-taught himself various subjects, such as history, literature, and languages. He also attended night school and joined libraries and debating societies. He credited his love of learning to his mother, who encouraged him to read and write.
Career and Earnings
Carnegie’s career took off when he became the personal secretary and assistant of Thomas A. Scott, the superintendent of the Pennsylvania Railroad. He learned the ins and outs of the railroad business and invested in various ventures, such as iron works, oil wells, and bridges. He also formed partnerships with other businessmen and entrepreneurs, such as Henry Clay Frick and Andrew Mellon.
Carnegie’s main source of wealth, however, was the steel industry. He founded the Carnegie Steel Company in 1892, which became the largest and most profitable steel company in the world. He pioneered the use of the Bessemer process, which enabled the mass production of steel at a low cost. He also implemented the strategy of vertical integration, which meant that he controlled every aspect of the steel production, from the raw materials to the transportation to the distribution.
Carnegie’s earnings were astronomical. He earned his first dividend check – for $10 – at age 21. He was earning the equivalent of $8.5 million per year in dividends by the age of 28. He was worth $400,000 at the age of 33 in 1868 – the same as $75 million today. By the time he sold his steel company to J.P. Morgan in 1901, he received $225 million in cash, which is the same as roughly $7 billion in today’s dollars. His net worth at the height of his wealth has been estimated at $475 to $480 million..
Net Worth and Philanthropy
Carnegie’s net worth in 1901 was equivalent to about 2.1% of the US GDP at the time, which means that his personal fortune is equal to hundreds of billions today. Most estimates peg his current-day equivalent net worth at $300-$310 billion. This would make him the fourth richest human being of all time, behind only Mansa Musa, Augustus Caesar, and John D. Rockefeller.
Carnegie was not interested in hoarding his wealth, however. He believed that the rich had a moral obligation to use their money for the benefit of society. He famously said, “The man who dies thus rich dies disgraced.” He devoted the remainder of his life to large-scale philanthropy, with special emphasis on local libraries, world peace, education and scientific research. Before his death he had already given away more than $350 million of his personal fortune. At his death his last $30,000,000 was given away to foundations, charities, and to pensioners.
Some of his most notable philanthropic contributions include:
- The Carnegie Corporation of New York, which supports education, democracy, and international peace.
- The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, which promotes cooperation and dialogue among nations.
- The Carnegie Institution for Science, which funds scientific research and discovery.
- The Carnegie Mellon University, which is a leading institution for technology and innovation.
- The Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, which include four museums of art, natural history, science, and culture.
- The Carnegie Hall, which is a world-renowned venue for music and performance.
- The Carnegie Hero Fund, which recognizes and rewards acts of heroism by civilians.
- The Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland, which provides scholarships and grants for students and researchers.
- The Carnegie UK Trust, which supports social and economic development in the UK and Ireland.
- The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, which is the flagship of over 2,500 libraries that he funded across the world.
Personal Life and Bio
Carnegie married Louise Whitfield in 1887, when he was 51 years old and she was 30. They had one child, a daughter named Margaret, who was born in 1897. Carnegie was a devoted husband and father, and spent much of his time with his family at their homes in New York, Scotland, and Massachusetts. He also enjoyed traveling, golfing, and playing the organ.
Carnegie died on August 11th, 1919, at the age of 83, from bronchial pneumonia. He was buried at the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in New York. His legacy lives on through his philanthropic works, his writings, and his influence on the American economy and society.
Andrew Carnegie was a remarkable man who rose from humble beginnings to become one of the richest and most generous men in history. He revolutionized the steel industry, created thousands of jobs, and supported countless causes and institutions. He was a self-made man who believed in the power of education, hard work, and giving back. He is an inspiration for anyone who wants to achieve success and make a difference in the world.
Most Asked Questions and Answers
Here are some of the most common questions and answers about Andrew Carnegie:
Q: How did Andrew Carnegie become rich?
A: Andrew Carnegie became rich by investing in and building the largest and most profitable steel company in the world, the Carnegie Steel Company. He sold his company to J.P. Morgan in 1901 for $480 million, which made him the richest man in the world at the time.
Q: How did Andrew Carnegie spend his money?
A: Andrew Carnegie spent his money on philanthropy, giving away over 74% of his wealth before he died. He funded various causes and institutions, such as libraries, universities, museums, peace organizations, and scientific research.
Q: What was Andrew Carnegie’s net worth?
A: Andrew Carnegie’s net worth at the height of his wealth was $475 to $480 million in 1901, which is equivalent to about $300-$310 billion in today’s money.
Q: What was Andrew Carnegie’s education?
A: Andrew Carnegie had little formal education, but he was an avid reader and self-taught himself various subjects, such as history, literature, and languages. He also attended night school and joined libraries and debating societies.
Q: Who was Andrew Carnegie’s partner?
A: Andrew Carnegie’s partner was Louise Whitfield, whom he married in 1887. They had one child, a daughter named Margaret.
Q: Who was Andrew Carnegie’s family?
A: Andrew Carnegie’s family consisted of his parents, Margaret and William Carnegie, who were Scottish immigrants; his brother, Thomas Carnegie, who was his business partner and died in 1886; his wife, Louise Whitfield, who was a philanthropist and socialite; and