Andrew Carnegie led the enormous expansion of the American steel industry in the late 19th century. He was also one of the most important philanthropists of his era.
Carnegie was born in Dunfermline, Scotland, and migrated to the United States as a child with his parents. His first job in the United States was as a factory worker in a bobbin factory. Later on he became a bill logger for the owner of the company. Soon after he became a messenger boy. Eventually he progressed up the ranks of a telegraph company. He built Pittsburgh's Carnegie Steel Company, which was later merged with Elbert H. Gary's Federal Steel Company and several smaller companies to create U.S. Steel. With the fortune he made from business among others he built Carnegie Hall, later he turned to philanthropy and interests in education, founding the Carnegie Corporation of New York, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Carnegie Institution of Washington, Carnegie Mellon University and the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh.
Carnegie donated most of his money to establish many libraries, schools, and universities in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and other countries, as well as a pension fund for former employees. He is often regarded as the second-richest man in history after John D. Rockefeller. Carnegie started as a telegrapher and by the 1860s had investments in railroads, railroad sleeping cars, bridges and oil derricks. He built further wealth as a bond salesman raising money for American enterprise in Europe.
He earned most of his fortune in the steel industry. In the 1870s, he founded the Carnegie Steel Company, a step which cemented his name as one of the "Captains of Industry". By the 1890s, the company was the largest and most profitable industrial enterprise in the world. Carnegie sold it in 1901 for $480 million to J.P. Morgan, who created U.S. Steel. Carnegie devoted the remainder of his life to large-scale philanthropy, with special emphasis on local libraries, world peace, education and scientific research. His life has often been referred to as a true "rags to riches" story.