People of Scotland – Andrew Carnegie
Everyone in Scotland has heard of Andrew Carnegie, although they might not be so familiar with how he became one of the wealthiest businessmen in America. Carnegie’s story begins in Dunfermline, where he was born into the modest home of a hand-loom weaver in 1835. The family moved to America when Andrew was just 13 years old in search of a better life, and settled in the town of Allegheny in Pennsylvania.
Carnegie took a job working on the railroad, and quickly advanced through the ranks to become the personal assistant of Thomas Scott, a top official at the time. This position of responsibility gave Carnegie a first class education in the running and expansion of a large railway network. Thanks to his successful investments Carnegie was able to start his own business, working mainly in the steel industry. Carnegie owned all stages of the steel production process from raw materials to transport, enabling him to offer competitive rates and win business. The Carnegie Steel Corporation quickly grew to become the largest in the world, making Carnegie one of the richest men in America at the time.
In his sixties Carnegie became an enthusiastic philanthropist, making many large donations, including $5 million to the New York Public Library. He was the first in a new wave of socially responsible entrepreneurs who believed in using their wealth and privilege to benefit all.
If you’re visiting Dunfermline, be sure to take the opportunity to visit the Andrew Carnegie Birthplace Museum. The historic site contains an inspiring mix of interactive displays, demonstrations and activities for the children is designed to keep all the family entertained and informed. Save some time to explore the gift shop and relax in the coffee shop and gardens.