Andrew Carnegie

How Does Pittsburgh Remember Andrew Carnegie?

Jun 15, 2022Surya Gopal

We love Pittsburgh, the incredible city we're pleased to call home! Pittsburgh has it all: legendary sports teams, a thriving food scene, distinctive historical sites, and it's a significant center for science and research.

Make sure to have a Klondike Bar for dessert after your Big Mac supper when you visit Pittsburgh. In 1929, Sam Isaly created the Klondike Bar. If Klondike Bars aren't your thing, a banana split will do the trick too. Dr. David Strickler, a pharmacist, invented the banana split, which, surprisingly, was sold for the first time in a drug store!

Pittsburgh has several nicknames, but none is well-known as "Steel City." And, here at Yinzershop, we commemorate the richness of the city with unique souvenirs! Steel produced here was utilized to construct iconic landmarks such as the Empire State Building, Golden Gate Bridge, and numerous World War II ships and none of it wouldn’t have been possible if it weren't for Andrew Carnegie - ‘The Man of Steel’.

So, dive in to read more about Andrew Carnegie and join in the 'Men Of Steel' fervor with our super-cool t-shirts!

Andrew Carnegie

Image from Carnegie Foundation

Carnegie’s Early Life

Andrew Carnegie was born in Dunfermline, Scotland, on November 25, 1835. William, his father, was an accomplished linen weaver who worked in the family's little cottage. Hand weaving became outmoded as the Industrial Revolution progressed, and William eventually lost his livelihood. Many people in their village were starving by 1848, and Carnegie recalled how he had to watch his father beg for work in his writings.

When the Carnegies were unable to make a life in Scotland, they borrowed the money and moved to America in 1848. In Pittsburgh, they would face the poverty and misery they had hoped to avoid in Scotland, but at least there would be work. Andrew started working at the mill at the age of 13 for 12 hours a day, a job that gave him nightmares. He escaped the mill in 1849 and went to work as a telegraph messenger boy. This role allowed him to network with business people from all over the city. Carnegie made it a point to memorize their names and faces and ingratiate himself with them by greeting them by name whenever he saw them on the street.

Andrew Carnegie with his brother

Image from Wikipedia 

Carnegie subsequently went to work for the Pennsylvania Railroad, the country's most important railroad. Thomas A. Scott, the superintendent, was his boss, and one of the business executives. Young Carnegie had made a point of remembering names from his days as a messenger.

From $1.2 to the Richest Man in the World

Carnegie worked with Scott as his mentor to simplify railroads and cut costs. The two collaborated by investing in the railroad's new sleeper cars, which were brought into service.

Carnegie saw the need for iron bridges to replace the old wooden ones and established an iron company to produce them for the railroads. He and Scott, as well as J. Edgar Thomson, became wealthy as a result of this investment. Because of the invention of the Bessemer Furnace, which made processing large amounts of iron into steel quicker and more economical, he watched English iron mills transform into steel mills during his journey abroad. 

Carnegie years in steel furnace

Image from Getty Images 

The first steel was made in 1875 at what would later become Carnegie's Edgar Thomson Works. Carnegie set sought to corner the rail market right away. Carnegie showed up at a meeting of steel mill owners and demanded an equal portion of rail output for the railroads. When the other owners objected, Carnegie stood firm. He also told them that they wouldn't be able to compete with him and that he'd put them out of business. And he succeeded!

A lasting legacy

"The man who dies rich dies disgraced," Carnegie believed. After selling his company, he turned his attention to philanthropy. He had handed away almost $350 million by the time he died in 1919. As one of history's most successful businessmen and benefactors, he used those funds to support social causes including public libraries, education, and international peace. His humanitarian goals were education and world peace. And, Yinzershop pays tribute to his huge efforts with our collection of classic wooden pictures that depict the vast history of the city!

A meeting in the Carnegie Foundation

Image from Medal Of Philanthropy 

He found almost 3,000 libraries, two-thirds of which are in the United States. He established Carnegie Mellon University and the Carnegie Hero Fund, which recognizes heroes who sacrificed their lives to save others. He also established the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, the Carnegie Relief Fund, which helped injured steelworkers, and the Carnegie Corporation, a grant-making organization whose accomplishments include the creation of Sesame Street, the Carnegie Dunfermline Trust, and the Carnegie Trust for the Universities. He bought 7,500 organs for churches despite not being a devoutly religious man. He supported the Carnegie Museum and Carnegie Music Hall in Pittsburgh and other libraries.

Andrew Carnegie continues to elicit a wide range of emotions, from respect to god-like admiration, even after a century after his death in Pittsburgh. He got his first job, developed his professional career, and carried out much of his amazing charitable vision in this town. Carnegie will always be a household name here. A man with a legacy!


Share the Carnegie spirit and reminisce the legendary history of Andrew Carnegie with the cool t-shirts from Yinzershop!

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