Monday, October 6, 2014

Carnegie Libraries: Chronology

Chronology of Andrew Carnegie, The Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Carnegie Libraries:

November 25, 1835 - Andrew Carnegie was born to Margaret and Will Carnegie in Dunfermline, Scotland. Andrew's father, Will, was a skilled weaver. The Carnegie's were one of many working'class families in Dunfermline at the time.

1843 - Andrew's younger brother, Tom is born.

1847 - Steam powered looms are introduced in Dunfemline. Due to automation Andrew's father Will is unemployed.

1848 - The Carnegie's emigrated to the United States and settle in Pittsburgh, PA. Andrew made $1.20 a per week working in a textile mill as a bobbin boy. He later worked in a factory tending the engine and boiler for $2.00 a week. He impressed his supervisor and was promoted to the position of clerk in the factory.

1849 - Andrew worked in a telegraph office as a messenger and earned $2.50 a week. He had a unique skill of memorizing street names and the names of men to whom he delivered messages. He was able to save time by recognizing the recipient of the messages on the street. He was promoted to the position of telegraph operator and made $20 a month.

1853 - Paid $35 per month, Andrew started working at the Pennsylvania Railroad, becoming the personal telegrapher and assistant to the superintendent of the railroad's western division, Thomas Scott. He learns the ins and outs of the railroad industry, making innovations, like keeping the telegraph office open 24 hours a day and clearing the tracks to get trains moving quickly by burning the cars following accidents.

1855 - Andrew is becoming successful in America, but his father Will was not able to find work as a weaver. He tried to produce his own cloth, travelling as far as Cincinnati to sell it but finds few buyers. Will Carnegie dies at the age of 51, leaving Andrew, age 20 as the only bread winner in the family.

1856 - An informant tells Andrew of an upcoming strike by railroad workers and is given a list of their names. He passes it to Thomas Scott who fires the workers, breaking the strike before it began.

Andrew takes out a loan from a local bank and invests over $200,000 in the Woodruff Sleeping Car Company. After two years he begins receiving a return of $5000 annually, more than three times his railroad salary.

1859 - Andrew becomes the superintendent of the Pennsylvania Railroad's western division making in charge of his own department. With a salary of $1500 a year he and his mother move to the upscale suburb of Homewood.

1861 - Andrew assists Thomas Scott supervise repairs of the railroad lines used by the Union Army during the American Civil War after Confederate mobs in Maryland destroy them. He notices the telegraph lines have also been cut and stops to repair them as well. When he arrived in Washington he joins Thomas Scott in organizing the railroad and telegraph lines to Virginia.

Using money from his investment in the Woodruff Sleeping Car Company, Andrew invests $11,000 in an oil company located in Titusville, PA. After only one year he receives a return of over $17,000

Andrew formed the Freedom Iron Company.

1862 - Andrew travels to Dunfermline.

1863 - With just $2400 coming from his railroad salary, half from his investment in oil, and additional investments of over $13,000 from the Piper and Schiffler Company, the Adams Express Company, and the Central Transportation Company, Andrew's income is $42,000 a year.

1864 - Andrew is drafted into the Union Army. The federal government gave him the option of paying $300 or finding a suitable replacement. Feeling like he has donehis patriotic duty by supervising telegraph telecommunications, he decided to pay a replacement $850 to serve in his place.

1865 - Andrew retired from the railroad. Andrew and several of his associates reorganize the Piper and Schiffler Company into the Keystone Bridge Company. They envisioned building bridges with iron, instead of wood to make them more durable. Thomas Scott loans Carnegie half of the $80,000 he needs for his investment.

1867 - Just two years after founding the Keystone Bridge Company, Andrew and several associates from the railroad established the Keystone Telegraph Company. The Pennsylvania Railroad grants them permission to string telegraph wires across the railroad's poles, which stretch across the entire state. Keystone is able to almost immediately merge with the Pacific and Atlantic Telegraph Company, turning the telegraph into a valuable asset and allowing Keystone's investors to triple their return.

1868 - Writing himself a letter Andrew outlined his plans for his future. He decides to resign made from business and live on an income of $50,000 a year, and devote the remainder of his fortune to the philanthropic causes and his time to his education.

1870 - A mutual friend introduces Andrew to 21 year old Louise Whitfield, the daughter of a wealthy merchant. He continued to call on her family from time to time.

1871 - Henry Clay Frick organizes the Frick Coke Company with money borrowed from family and neighbors.

1872 - During a visit to England Andrew visits Henry Bessemer's steel plants. He had been using Bessemer's process of making steel at the Freedom Iron Company for years. He realizes the commercial potential of steel and returns to America with plans to expand his steel business.

1873 - Andrew donates a pool to Dunfermline.

A financial panic hits the U.S. and Frick borrows more money to buy out his partners and most of his competition.

1875 - Andrew opened his first steel plant, the Edgar Thomson Works, in Braddock, Pennsylvania. It is named for the president of the Pennsylvania Railroad. The first order the plant produced is for 2000 steel rails for the railroad.

1877 - The price of coke had quadrupled and Henry Clay Frick had earned his first million.

1880 - Although Andrew is seeing several women, he is most fond of Louise Whitfield, and calls her his favorite riding partner. They became increasingly closer.

1881 - Andrew, who had been one of Frick's largest coke customers, proposes a merger with Frick. At first the interest only totaled about 11% of the stock, but soon Andrew increases his share to over 50% of the company.

Andrew invites Louise Whitfield to accompany him and his mother, Margaret, on a trip to Scotland. Margaret was jealous and intercedes and Louise stays home. While there Andrew donated the first library outside of the United States.

1883 - Andrew buys a rival steel mill, the Homestead Works.

1886 - Andrew published an essay in Forum Magazine defending workers' rights to organize into a union.
He also publishes Triumphant Democracy, which sells over 70,000 copies and celebrates the American belief in democracy and capitalism.

Andrew catches typhoid. While recovering at his home in Cresson, Pennsylvania he suffers a relapse when he learns of his brother's death. Andrew is still ill a month later and his mother dies of pneumonia. In order to keep Margaret Carnegie's death a secret from her son, her coffin is lowered out of her bedroom window.

1887 - Andrew Carnegie marries Louise Whitfield

Henry Clay Frick organizes a coalition of coke companies to resist striking labor, but Carnegie has a large enough share in Frick's company to force him to settle with the workers. The tension between the two men is resolved for the time being, but Carnegie and Frick will disagree on labor issues in the future.

1889 - Andrew publishes "The Gospel of Wealth." In it he argues that the wealthy have a moral obligation to serve as stewards for society. The following year, his annual take-home pay is $25 million.

1892 - While Andrew is on vacation in Europe the contract at the Homestead Mill expires. He directs Henry Frick to handle the situation. Unable to come to an agreement the workers strike and are locked out. Frick prepares for a standoff with the workers and hired Pinkerton agents to come in to enforce the company side of things. The New York Times writes, "It is evident there is no `bluffing' at Homestead. The fight there is to be to the death." A gun fight ensues for about twelve hours. The Pinkertons surrender and are forced to pass through a crowd of hundreds of workers, who beat them mercilessly, severely injuring twenty of them. The governor sent in the state militia to restore order, reclaim the mill and stop the strike. Strikebreakers are hired to re-open it. The incident marks Andrew Carnegie's image as a friend of the worker.

1897 - Andrew and Louise Carnegie have a daughter, Margaret Carnegie. They search for a home in Scotland with a view of the sea, a waterfall and a trout stream. He purchased Skibo Castle for $85,000 pounds. It was in ruins and did not have a waterfall.

1898 - The U.S. captured the Philippines from Spain at the end of the Spanish-American War and paid $20,000 for the islands. Andrew saw this as imperialistic and offers the islands $20,000 to purchase their independence.

Andrew decided to expand his business by producing finished products, this competed directly with some of J.P. Morgan's interests. Morgan believes Andrew Carnegie has become too much of a threat to his empire and must be bought out entirely.

1899 - Andrew organizes his steel mills into Carnegie Steel.

Due to tensions between Andrew Carnegie and Henry Clay Frick, Andrew asks Henry to resign as chairman of the board. He does so, but questions remain about how much Frick Coke Company will charge Carnegie Steel for the coke.

1900 - Andrew attempts to convince Henry Frick to sell him coke at a cut-rate price, and even to take over Frick's interest in Carnegie Steel. Henry Frick sues for the market value of the coke and they settle out of court.

Andrew Carnegie's annual profit was $40 million.

Andrew established the Carnegie Institute of Technology.

1901 - Andrew Carnegie allows J.P. Morgan to buy Carnegie Steel for $480 million. Morgan turns Carnegie Steel into US Steel, and makes Andrew Carnegie the richest man in the world.

1902 - Andrew founds the Carnegie Institute to provide research for American colleges and universities.

1905 - Andrew establishes the Teachers' Pension Fund with an endowment of $10,000,000.

1910 - Andrew established the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and built the Central American Court of Justice in Costa Rica, which was destroyed by an earthquake that year.

1911 - Andrew the Carnegie Corporation with $125,000,000. The corporation aided colleges, universities, technical schools, scientific research. This was the last philanthropic trust he creates, in all he has given away 90% of his fortune.

1913 - Financed by Andrew Carnegie, the Palace, or Temple of Peace in the Hague is dedicated and has its grand opening.

1914 - As World War I begins Andrew leaves Scotland for the last time.

1916 - Andrew buys the estate, Shadowbrook in Massachussetts.

August 11, 1919 - Andrew Carnegie died in Lenox, Massachusetts. His gravestone is made of stone from Skibo and reads "Born in Dunfermline, Scotland, 25 November 1835. Died in Lenox, Massachusetts, 11 August 1919".

Info. source: PBS American Experience, Andrew Carnegie, Rags to Riches Timeline (text version)

Previous articles:
Carnegie Libraries: Intro. and Info.