Andrew Carnegie was born poor. However, his efforts and intellect led to him becoming one of the wealthiest men in the world. He played a vital role in shaping the American society and culture from the end of the civil war through the beginning of the twentieth century. Furthermore, he is also credited with the innovation and the creation of various techniques of business and transformed the industry of steel into one of the leading big manufacturing businesses. In this regard, he created and deployed his own established techniques and strategies for business management. These approaches were utilized by several others after his death and proved to be very useful.
He emigrated from Scotland along with his family to the United States in 1848. Upon reaching America, the family settled in Allegheny, Pennsylvania. Andrew found employment in a textile mill as a bobbin boy, with a salary of 1.20 dollars per week. However, he was ambitious and moved on to various clerical jobs. During this time he learned bookkeeping through the double entry. His interest in business made him a messenger for the O’Reilly Telegraph Company. He was then promoted to the position of the operator. He was then offered the job of secretary by the superintendent of the Pennsylvania Railroad, Tom Scott in 1852. He took the job, and it proved instrumental in the development of his business concepts. He learned and perfected the art of dealing with people, human resource management and dealing with the labor force.
After leaving the railroad in 1865, he moved on to capital investment. He played a prominent role in the elevation of the Columbian Oil Company, the Woodruff Sleeping Car Company, and the Keystone Bridge Company. In this regard, he played an essential role in post-war America by constructing critical bridges. He capitalized on the industry boom of the telegraph business. All these investments made him a successful businessman. After retirement in 1872, he shifted his focus towards the steel business.
He utilized scientific management strategies, like the use of chemistry to reuse the discarded materials. He was a shrewd businessman and used the idea of vertical integration by buying iron mines and railroad firms. Hence, he reduced the costs incurred in purchasing steel and generated huge profits. His ability to judge people also assisted in the success of the Carnegie Steel Company. His initiation of a profit-sharing strategy made the workers more productive. All these approaches made his company very successful which can be gauged by the fact that he sold it to J.P. Morgan in 1901 for an astounding amount of 500 million dollars.
By investing in the steel business as well as the railroad business, he gained control over every aspect of the production of steel. He owned the raw materials, the modes of transportation, the manufacturing process and the distribution of the finished product. This way he created a monopoly in the steel industry. During his life, he effectively controlled the whole of the American steel industry.
His literary work, titled “Wealth,” commonly known as The Gospel of Wealth, was published in the North American Review in 1889. It is regarded as one of the essential texts on the concept of wealth. He was a firm believer in the idea of giving something back to the society. In fact, philanthropy was regarded the as the main reason for making money in the first place by Carnegie. In this regard, he was practically involved in many philanthropist works and activities. He donated organs to the church and built a public library in Dunfermline.
He was not an ordinary businessman or human being. He treated his employees in a right way, which was unheard of in the American society of that time. Also, he allowed the unions of the laborers. His actions and introduced business concepts helped shape the society and culture of the United States. He is credited with the introduction of many steel manufacturing processes, machinery, and equipment. The depression of 1873 cemented his reputation of an excellent businessman.
In conclusion, Andrew Carnegie is regarded as one of the best businessmen in the history of the United States. His innovative business strategies are still in use today. Furthermore, his technique of vertical integration proved to be an inspiration for the future generations of American businesspeople. All this, accompanied by his philanthropist activities make him an important figure in American history.