Andrew Carnegie is one of the most successful business tycoons of the 1800s, and one of the most notable philanthropists of all time. He was the founder and owner of the Carnegie Steel Company, which helped him become one of the richest men in the world during the 19th century.
Born in Scotland in 1835, Andrew Carnegie moved with his family to the United States as a teenager. They settled in the town of Allegheny, Pennsylvania, which is now incorporated into Pittsburgh as the North Side neighborhood. Andrew Carnegie's first employment was as a telegraph messenger, for the rate of $2.50 US Dollars (USD) a week. While working at this job, he proved himself to be very capable and hard-working, and also developed a love for theater, particularly the plays of Shakespeare. He was often required to deliver telegraphs to a theater in town, and he would plan his arrivals so that he could watch the plays performed there.
In 1853, Andrew Carnegie got a job working for the Pennsylvania Railroad Company, where he quickly made his way up through the ranks to become Superintendent of the Pittsburgh division. At this point, Andrew Carnegie began to invest some of his income into railroad-related industries, which proved to be very lucrative, particularly during the years of the Civil War.
At the end of the Civil War, Andrew Carnegie decided to transition from the railroad industry into the steel industry. In Pittsburgh, he formed two steel-related companies: the Keystone Bridge Works and the Union Ironworks. Andrew Carnegie's association with the steel industry made him one of the richest people in the world. He purchased a large number of steel mills, ore mines, and related companies throughout the United States; soon, thanks to Carnegie's companies, the United States was producing more steel than the United Kingdom was.
In 1901, Andrew Carnegie made the decision to unify his many steel industry holdings into one single company. The merger was organized by well-known banker J.P. Morgan, and resulted in the formation of United States Steel Corporation (USS), which had a market value of more than $1 billion USD. At that time, USS was the highest valued company ever.
After creating the USS company, Andrew Carnegie retired from active involvement in the steel industry, and turned his interests to philanthropy and charity work. One of Andrew Carnegie's most famous philanthropic donations was the establishment of public libraries in English-speaking countries all over the world, which are known as Carnegie Libraries. Andrew Carnegie also donated $2 million USD for the establishment of Pittsburgh's Carnegie Institute of Technology, which is now called Carnegie Mellon University, as well as a range of other notable buildings including New York City's Carnegie Hall.