73. Andrew Carnegie: From Rags to Riches



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Andrew Carnegie was born in Dunfermline, Scotland on November 25, 1835, to a very poor family. His father was a weaver, and his mother mended shoes to help make ends meet. From these humble beginnings, Carnegie became one of the richest men ever to live in the United States. Carnegie was not only very rich; he shared his wealth throughout his lifetime. It is estimated that Carnegie donated approximately 90 percent of his amassed fortune to charity before his death in 1919.

Carnegie was one of two children born into a family that shared a living space with another weaver's family. The Carnegies lived in one room, which served as living room, kitchen, and bedroom for the entire family. In an attempt to escape extreme poverty, Carnegie's father borrowed some money, and moved his family to the state of Pennsylvania in search of a better life. Once in the United States, Carnegie found work doing odd jobs until he found stable employment working for the railroads. It is here that Carnegie began to earn his fortune.

By 1859, at the age of 25, Carnegie had risen to superintendent of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company. It is here where he began making wise investments. He purchased stock in coal, iron, and oil. He also invested in George Pullman's sleeping cars, which became a big success. By the age of 30, Carnegie was a very wealthy man. he founded the Carnegie Steel Company, which eventually became U.S. Steel.

Throughout his lifetime, Carnegie stressed education. Even though he was not an educated person, his father emphasized reading during his childhood. Carnegie donated freely to education, and founded Carnegie-Mellon University. Carnegie felt it was the duty of the very wealthy to share their fortune with others. Andrew Carnegie is a true philanthropist.

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