Andrew Carnegie - The Second Half

Andrew Carnegie.jpg

QUESTION:  Who was the powerful railroad tycoon who brought Andrew Carnegie into the War Department during the Civil War?
A)  Abraham Lincoln
B)  John Rockefeller
C)  Tom Scott
D)  Cornelius Vanderbilt

We began talking about Andrew Carnegie yesterday - a poor boy born in Scotland who proved that immigrants can do amazing things when encouraged by their adopted country. Carnegie started work as a teenager in a cotton mill, and by the time he was 29 in 1864 he was establishing himself in the new American iron and steel industries. The railroads contracted with him to produce bridges for their trains to cross, and tracks to use to cross them, while ensuring that the railroad men also saw some of the profits themselves.  Mutually beneficial, they worked together to create enormous wealth. Carnegie focused his life on building his wealth, educating himself, and giving to the less advantaged. He did not marry until he was fifty-one, waiting until his mother passed away. And then he became REALLY wealthy. His steel factories produced enough to allow American cities to start growing taller - skyscrapers began dominating the urban world. When his employees began striking for safer work conditions, better wages and improved hours, Carnegie began questioning the merit of his industry.

Skibo, the castle Carnegie bought.

Skibo, the castle Carnegie bought.

He sold his steel factories to J.P. Morgan in 1901, earning well over two-hundred million dollars (over six billion dollars in today's money).  That equaled retirement. Carnegie spent the last eighteen years of his life spending his money. He bought a castle in Scotland and had a mansion built in Manhattan (now the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum), but more significantly he built libraries. Remembering the powerful influence of reading on his life as a teenager, he had over three thousand libraries constructed across the world, hoping to inspire the next generation. And the generation after that. And so on. He also sponsored the construction of over seven thousand church organs in the effort to promote musical appreciation. There is also some sort of Hall he named after himself in Manhattan. And we have a delightful image of Mr. Carnegie right here, in Oaks, Pennsylvania!  Come check it out!  Or go to the library. Or both!

ANSWER:  C)  Tom Scott.  Honestly, we just talked about him yesterday. We hope you got this one right.

Andrew Carnegie

QUESTION:  Andrew Carnegie had a tense partnership with business tycoon Henry Clay Frick. After whom was Frick named?
A)  Cassius Clay
B)  Cassius Coolidge
C)  Clay Pigeon
D)  Henry Clay

The American Treasure Tour blog continues our examination of the men (sorry, no women) displayed on the wall of the Toy Box in reproduction lithographs.  To date, we have examined the lives of famous frontiersmen (Daniel Boone), Civil War Generals (William Sherman, George Meade and Al Johnson), and politicians (William Seward).  It stands to reason that a businessman be our next honoree. There were few more famous or powerful in the late-19th century that Mr. Andrew Carnegie. Carnegie was thirteen years old when his family moved from Dunfermline, Scotland in 1848, travelling to the United States to pursue the American Dream. They chose to settle in the industrial town of Allegheny, Pennsylvania.  There, Carnegie started his career as a bobbin boy for his uncle - working twelve hours a day, six days a week at a cotton mill the spools of thread full in the cotton machines.  Within two years, he had moved on to the Pittsburgh Office of the Ohio Telegraph Company and distinguished himself a messenger boy. He also made excellent contacts.

Carnegie gained access to the private library of an industrialist in town, where he gained access to thousands of books. He was truly a self-made man, and he was rising quickly. The knowledge he obtained through reading gave him further advantages over his peers and, in 1853, he got a job for Tom Scott of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company. Few people today know the name Tom Scott, but in his day he was one of the most powerful men in America. Scott took Carnegie under his wing and trained him in the ways of running a business, using personal influence to buy into, and influence, the stock market. When Scott was appointed by Abraham Lincoln as Assistant Secretary of War, Carnegie took control of military transportation. Carnegie ensured that troops and materials would get to where they needed to go - and proved an essential figure in the Union effort during the Civil War. Amazingly, he had only just started proving himself....

ANSWER:  D)  Henry Clay.  No offense, but if you didn't get that one on your own, we will be concerned for you.