Learn about the philosophy and the mindset that helped to make Andrew Carnegie one of the wealthiest people on the planet. Discover how the Scottish immigrant went from poverty to prosperity.
Andrew Carnegie sold Carnegie Steel for J.P. Morgan for $480 million in 1901
Andrew Carnegie’s net worth in 1901 was the equivalent of $13,234,209,251.77 in 2017
1835 – Andrew Carnegie was born in Dunfermline, Scotland.
1847- The invention of the steam-powered loom becomes popular in Scotland. This eliminated the need for many jobs including the job of Andrew’s father (Will).
1848 – Andrew’s dad (Will and his wife Margaret) decides to move the family to the United States from Scotland..
NOTABLE QUOTABLE – “New York was the first great hive of human industry among the inhabitants of which I had mingled, and the bustle and excitement of it overwhelmed me.” – Andrew Carnegie
1848 – The family traveled west by canal and steamboat and arrived three weeks later Allegheny, Pennsylvania.
1848 – Age 13 – Andrew’s father gets a job at a textile mill
NOTABLE QUOTABLE – “If you want to be happy, set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy, and inspires your hopes.” – Andrew Carnegie
1849 – Age 14 – He volunteered to work for free after and before his shift to learn the telegraph machine.
1849 – Age 14 – Andrew works as messenger
NOTABLE QUOTABLE – “It was from my own early experience that I decided there was no use to which money could be applied so productive… as the founding of a public library.”
1851- Age 16 – He was promoted to the telegraphy operator position.
1853 – Age 18 – Andrew takes job at Pennsylvania Railroad
NOTABLE QUOTABLE – “To try to make the world in some way better than you found it is to have a noble motive in life.” – Andrew Carnegie
1855 – Age 20 – William Carnegie, Andrew’s father, passes away. Andrew, only 20 years old, becomes the family’s main income earner.
NOTABLE QUOTABLE – “People who are unable to motivate themselves must be content with mediocrity, no matter how impressive their other talents.”- Andrew Carnegie
December 1st 1859 – Age 24 – Scott promoted Carnegie to be the superintendent of the Western Division of the Pennsylvania Railroad.
Thomas A. Scott, superintendent of the western division of the Pennsylvania Railroad and Andrew Carnegie’s boss, told Andrew about ten shares of the Adams Express Company that were for sale.
NOTABLE QUOTABLE – “Perhaps the most tragic thing about mankind is that we are all dreaming about some magical garden over the horizon, instead of enjoying the roses that are right outside today.” – Andrew Carnegie
1856 – Age 21 – Carnegie makes his first investment in sleeping cars. After investing $217.50 (approximately $5,996.75 in 2017) in the Woodruff Sleeping Car Company, two years later he would begin receiving an annual return of $5,000.
NOTABLE QUOTABLE – “The way to become rich is to put all your eggs in one basket and then watch that basket.” – Andrew Carnegie
FUN FACT – The family had to mortgage their house to get the $500 needed to invest.
While associated with the railroad, Carnegie developed a wide variety of other business interests.
1861- Age 26 – Carnegie makes his second big investment and his first investment in oil. After an initial investment of $11,000 to the oil company in Titusville, PA, Carnegie receives his first return of $17,868 only a year later.
NOTABLE QUOTABLE – “Do your duty and a little more and the future will take care of itself.” – Andrew Carnegie
1865 – Age 30 – He left the railroad industry to focus exclusively on his investments and the Keystone Bridge Company.
By age 30, Carnegie had amassed business interests in iron works, steamers on the Great Lakes, railroads, and oil wells. He was subsequently involved in steel production, and built the Carnegie Steel Corporation into the largest steel manufacturing company in the world.
NOTABLE QUOTABLE – “You cannot push anyone up a ladder unless he be willing to climb a little himself.” – Andrew Carnegie
1865 – Age 30 – Carnegie retires from the railroad. He creates the Keystone Bridge Company, known for creating bridges of durable steel instead of the traditional wooden bridges.
NOTABLE QUOTABLE – “Labor, capital, and ability are a three-legged stool… They are equal members of the great triple alliance which moves the industrial world.” – Andrew Carnegie
1867- Age 32 – Carnegie founds the Keystone Telegraph Company. It almost immediately merges with the Pacific and Atlantic Telegraph Companies. Allowing Keystone’s investors to nearly triple their return
NOTABLE QUOTABLE – “There is little success where there is little laughter.” – Andrew Carnegie
1872 – Age 37 – After a visit to Bessemer’s steel plants, Carnegie realizes the commercial potential of steel.
FUN FACT: The Bessemer process was the first inexpensive industrial process for the mass production of steel from molten pig iron before the development of the open hearth furnace. The key principle is removal of impurities from the iron by oxidation with air being blown through the molten iron. The oxidation also raises the temperature of the iron mass and keeps it molten.
NOTABLE QUOTABLE – “Not only had I got rid of the theology and the supernatural, but I had found the truth of evolution.” – Andrew Carnegie
FUN FACT: The modern process is named after its inventor, the Englishman Henry Bessemer, who took out a patent on the process in 1856.
He would return to America with new plans to expand his steel business. By the next decade, most of Carnegie’s time was dedicated to the steel industry.
1887 – Age 52 – Carnegie marries Louise Whitfield
1889 Age 54 – Carnegie’s first book, The Gospel of Wealth is published.
1889 – He owned Carnegie Steel Corporation (the world’s largest corporation).
1892- Age 57 – The Homestead Strike occurred.
1899- Age 64 – Carnegie organizes several of his steel companies into Carnegie steel.
NOTABLE QUOTABLE – “You are what you think. So just think big, believe big, act big, work big, give big, forgive big, laugh big, love big and live big.”- Andrew Carnegie
1901 – Age 66 – He sold his business ventures to J.P. Morgan and devoted his remaining years to full-time philanthropy.
He sold to J.P. Morgan in 1901 for $480 million.
FUN FACT: Andrew Carnegie’s net worth in 1901 was the equivalent of $13,234,209,251.77 in 2017
FUN FACT: This means that he had more wealth than America’s current wealthiest 4 people combined (Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett and Mark Zuckerberg). As of 2017, Forbes reports:
1916 – Carnegie moves back to America, buying a home in Lennox, Massachusetts
1919 – Carnegie dies of pneumonia and he cannot take his money with him.
FUN FACT In 1901, Carnegie made a dramatic change in his life. He sold his business to the United States Steel Corporation, started by legendary financier J.P. Morgan. The sale earned him more than $200 million. At the age of 65, Carnegie decided to spend the rest of his days helping others