Andrew Carnegie Accomplishments and Inventions You Should Know

Andrew Carnegie made no inventions in the real sense of the meaning, but he is known as the father of steel industry in United States. He was one of the most successful businessmen of his times. In 1889, Carnegie Steel Corporation was the largest steel-maker at that time.


Andrew Carnegie was born in Dunfermline, Scotland on November 25, 1835. Dunfermline was Scotland’s historic medieval capital, famous for producing fine-linen. Carnegie was educated at the Free School in Dunfermline. At that time, the town fell on hardships when industrialism forced home-spun weaving closedown, leaving workers such as Carnegie’s father, Will, short to support their families.

In 1848 Will Carnegie and his wife, Margaret, sold their property and moved to Pennsylvania with their sons, 13-year-old Andrew and 5-year-old Tom.


Andrew’s father, William Carnegie, began working in a cotton mill, whereas his mother Margaret Morrison Carnegie earned money by binding shoes.

Andrew Carnegie’s first job at age 13 in 1848 was as a bobbin boy, changing spools of thread in a cotton mill 12 hours a day, 6 days a week in a Pittsburgh cotton factory. His starting wage was $1.20 per week.

In 1850, Carnegie became a telegraph messenger boy in the Pittsburgh Office of the Ohio Telegraph Company, at $2.50 per week, where paid close attention and quickly learned to tell apart the incoming telegraph signals produced. He developed the skill to interpret signals by hearing them and within a year he was promoted as an operator.

Starting in 1853, Thomas A. Scott of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company hired Carnegie as a secretary/ telegraph operator at a salary of $4.00 per week.  Carnegie accepted the job as he saw chances of career growth and experience with the railroad rather than remaining stuck at the telegraph company.

Carnegie began a rapid advance through the company, becoming the superintendent of the Pittsburgh Division at the age of 24. At the times, railroads were the first big ventures in USA. During the years here, Carnegie learned much about management and cost control from Scott.


In 1855, Scott made it possible for Carnegie to invest $500 in the Adams Express, which had a business deal with the Pennsylvania.  A few years later, he received a few shares in Theodore Tuttle Woodruff‘s sleeping car company, as a reward for holding shares that Woodruff had given to Scott and Thomson, as a payoff.

By reinvesting his returns in railroad-related industries — iron, bridges, and rails, Carnegie slowly accumulated much capital. Throughout his later career, he took advantage of his ties with Thomson and Scott, as he established businesses that supplied rails and bridges to the railroad, offering the two men a stake in his enterprises.


Andrew Carnegie’s philanthropic career began around 1870. Although he supported a slew of projects, he is best known for his gifts of free public library buildings, beginning in his native Dunfermline and ultimately extending throughout the English-speaking world, including the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand.

In 1887, Carnegie married Louise Whitfield of New York City. She supported his philanthropy, and signed a prenuptial marriage agreement stating Carnegie’s intention of giving away virtually his entire fortune during his lifetime.

Andrew Carnegie sold his steel company to J.P. Morgan for $480 million in 1901. Retiring from business, Carnegie set about in earnest to distribute his fortune. During the last 18 years of his life, he gave away to charities, foundations, and universities about $350 million (in 2015 share of GDP, $78.6 billion) – almost 90 per cent of his fortune.


In addition to funding libraries, he paid for thousands of church organs in the United States and around the world.  Carnegie’s wealth helped establish numerous colleges, schools, nonprofit-organizations and associations in his adopted country and many others.

His most significant contribution, both in money and enduring influence, was the establishment of several trusts or institutions bearing his name, including: Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland, Carnegie Institution for Science, Carnegie Foundation (supporting the Peace Palace), Carnegie Dunfermline Trust, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and the Carnegie UK Trust.

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