The famous British entrepreneur, Andrew Carnegie, was a self-made industrialist who became a multi-millionaire after spearheading the steel industry’s 19th-century expansion in the United States.
The Scots-born business magnate and philanthropist has been identified as one of the richest Americans in history.
His inspirational life story saw him rise from an impoverished childhood in a lowly one-room cottage, with little formal education, to founding the Carnegie Steel Company and amassing a fortune of more than $350 million, giving away 90% of it to charity.
Born in 1835, in Dunfermline, in a one-room weaver’s cottage, he had emigrated to the US with his parents, William and Margaret Carnegie, to start a better life in 1948, at the age of 13. The family moved to Allegheny, Pennsylvania, where the youngster first found factory work filling bobbins with yarn for a wage of $1.20 a week.
He then found employment with the railroads and became a telegraph messenger, earning $2.50 per week. In 1853, he became assistant and telegrapher to one of Pennsylvania Railroad’s top officials, Thomas Scott. He learned about the railway industry and about general business practices, and was promoted to superintendent in 1856.
Carnegie saved and spent wisely while working for the railroad. He made numerous investments, bringing in substantial returns, particularly from those made in the oil industry. In 1865, he had earned enough money to launch a number of ironworks, including the Keystone Bridge Company and the Union Ironworks.
Carnegie Steel Company
Steel production grew in the US over the next decade, led by Carnegie, whose business empire became known as the Carnegie Steel Company. He opened new plants across the country and used modern production methods that revolutionised steel manufacturing, making it faster and enabling greater quantities to be made.
He had a “start to finish” strategy and owned everything he needed to make the finished product, including the raw materials, railroads and ships to transport the goods, and coal fields to provide fuel to fire up the furnaces.
Carnegie became the most dominant force in the US steel industry and was renowned as being one of America’s “builders”, as his successful business fuelled the economy and shaped the nation. In 1889, Carnegie Steel Corporation became the largest steel business in the world.
In 1901, Carnegie sold his business to the US Steel Corporation and at the age of 65, he devoted his life to helping others – he had already built libraries and made donations to charities and worthy causes.
He went on to open new educational establishments and in 1910, he launched the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He gave away most of his fortune before his death in 1919, at the age of 83.
As well as being remembered for his philanthropy, Carnegie is also famous for his inspirational quotes. He showed great insight into business, life and human nature, and his quotes still inspire others today.
Here’s a few of them…
“You cannot push anyone up a ladder unless he be willing to climb a little himself”
“Teamwork is the ability to work together towards a common vision. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results”
“Think of yourself as on the threshold of unparalleled success. A whole, clear, glorious life lies before you. Achieve!”
“I believe that the true road to preeminent success in any line is to make yourself master of that line.”
Carnegie preached a positive approach to life, accepting hardships that were beyond our control and making the best of every situation, saying: “Whether the change be for good or ill, it is upon us, beyond our power to alter and therefore to be accepted and made the best of. It is a waste of time to criticise the inevitable.”
Carnegie’s famous quotes are still used by many life coaches and business leaders today to motivate and inspire others.
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