Andrew Carnegie

Remembering Andrew Carnegie, the Entrepreneur, and Philanthropist of Pittsburgh

Jun 24, 2022Surya Gopal

The Pittsburgh Steelers, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Pittsburgh Pirates are among the best-known sports franchises in the United States. Of all, world-famous sports teams are just the beginning of Pittsburgh’s glory. Pittsburghers have created everything from the steel for the Brooklyn Bridge to a well-known sandwich that has a distinct Pittsburgh flavor.

Not just these, while you're emailing friends or coworkers, keep in mind that the emoticon Smiley (🙂) was designed by Carnegie Mellon University computer scientist Scott Fahlman. The credit for the entire existence of the university goes to one of the greatest minds of all time - Andrew Carnegie, the visionary with Pittsburgh’s most inspiring story of ‘Rags to Riches’! Let’s explore his major contributions for Pittsburgh.

Imbibe the 20th-century Pittsburgh feels and shop at Yinzer’s favorite Yinzershop for Pittburgh’s one-of-a-kind goodies.

Andrew Carnegie as the World’s Richest Entrepreneur

Andrew Carnegie

Image from United States Library of Congress's Prints and Photographs division

Thousands of well-known entrepreneurs have amassed fortunes in the millions and billions of dollars as a result of their innovative ideas and hard work. They possess the necessary perseverance to transform their fantasies into reality. The true essence of entrepreneurship, according to Forbes, is 'define, invest, build, and repeat.' True famous entrepreneurs are enthusiastic about what they do, and they have converted their passion into a business. Carnegie was one such person.

Carnegie's hard work and struggle from all the traumatic events from his childhood began to pay off in 1849. He began his career as a telegraph messenger boy in the Ohio Telegraph Company's Pittsburgh office, where he proved to be a hard worker and was promoted to an operator within a year. Rather than being a resentful boss, Scott (Pennsylvania Railroad) chose to assist Carnegie in beginning his investment career.

Carnegie being a visionary, wasted no time in deciding what to do when Scott informed him of the planned sale of ten shares in the Adams Express Company. His mother Margaret mortgaged their home to get the $500 needed to acquire the shares, risking everything they had. The risky move paid off: income began to flow swiftly, allowing Carnegie to fund a sequence of subsequent investments.

Carnegie formed the Carnegie Steel Co. in 1889 after founding a steelworks near Pittsburgh in 1872–73. In a short period, Carnegie built a massive enterprise that dominated the US steel industry, widely used to construct bridges and structures. Pittsburgh is known as the City of Bridges. It has more bridges than any other city in the world. Be a Pittsburgh patron by choosing from the variety of Clemente-bridge-themed collections from Yinzershop.

He sold his company to J.P. Morgan in 1901, and it became a subsidiary of U.S. Steel. Carnegie worked his way up from $1.20 a week to $50,000 a year by the age of 30 owing to his hard work, risk-taking mentality, and the triumph of his investments to being the world’s richest man in 1901.

Greatest Philanthropist Pittsburgh Has Ever Seen 

Postcard featuring a painted image of Carnegie Free Library

Image from North Carolina’s state library 

Carnegie considered philanthropy critical to correcting the flaws. He urged individuals who benefit the most from the economic system to put their riches to good use by "producing the greatest beneficial consequences for the community." This would benefit everyone in society, which could eventually lead to the replacement of a prosperous, free-market system.

Carnegie began supporting the construction of thousands of libraries in 1885. He would only pay for buildings—and only if local authorities showed him viable plans for obtaining books and recruiting staff—to ensure that communities were equally invested. Carnegie established several philanthropic institutions that bear his name throughout his lifetime. He established the Carnegie Technical Schools, later the Carnegie Institute, which is now known as Carnegie Mellon University, one of the world's major research universities, in 1900. 

In 1904, he established the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission, which acknowledges and honors people who impulsively sacrifice their lives to help others. He founded the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching a year later.

Philanthropist to a Pacifist

Pittsburgh was Carnegie’s favorite destination despite being Scottish by birth and that’s because it holds Carnegie, a pacifist, had a single purpose near the end of his life: world peace. He believed in the force of international law and in the ability of mediation to prevent future wars. In 1903, he funded the establishment of the Peace Palace in The Hague, and in 1910, he donated $10 million to the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

His foundation financed a tremendous expansion in the number of free libraries from the 1890s onwards, resulting in the founding of 75-80% of all libraries in towns across the United Kingdom. Andrew Carnegie had handed away almost £250,000,000.00 by the time he died in August 1919. The Carnegie Corporation was given another £82 million to continue Carnegie’s legacy.

Let’s pay tribute to this legend with Yinzershop’s classy collection of Andrew Carnegie goodies!


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