Industrialists Andrew Carnegie and Henry Clay Frick could not have come from more different backgrounds. Carnegie was born in the Scottish town of Dunfermline to a very poor family in 1835. When he was 12 years old, his father, a weaver, decided to move the family to the United States in search of better prospects, arriving at what was then the municipality of Allegheny, Pennsylvania, now part of Pittsburgh’s North Side. By that time, Pittsburgh was already known as a major center for the production of steel and other metals. In 1853, at the age of 18, Carnegie was hired as a telegraph operator for the Pennsylvania Railroad, and became a protégé of Thomas A. Scott, who would soon rise to vice president of the company. At the outbreak of the Civil War, Scott was named United States Assistant Secretary of War under fellow Pennsylvanian Simon Cameron due to his knowledge of transportation networks, and in 1874 he took over as president of the PRR. Throughout his rise, Scott helped Carnegie make a number of investments that resulted in him obtaining a considerable amount of fortune and founding the Carnegie Steel Company (Nasaw 59-60).
Frick was born in West Overton, in southwest Pennsylvania, in 1849 to a fairly prosperous family that owned, among others, the Old Overholt rye whiskey distillery. After dropping out of college, he co-founded a coke production company in 1871. In 1880, with financial help from his friend Andrew Mellon, he bought out his partners, and quickly grew the company into the largest coal mining enterprise in the state.
Carnegie and Frick first met in 1881 and entered into a partnership whereby Frick would provide Carnegie Steel with fuel and serve as...
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...al and Secretary of State Philander C. Knox, and the AA agreed to drop their lawsuits against each other, and the union never recovered its former importance.
After the resolution of the conflict, Carnegie’s reputation was left seriously damaged, in large part because he departed the country on a trip to Scotland, leaving Frick to handle the unrest. Upon his return, Carnegie defended Frick’s actions during the strike while at the same time distancing himself from the decision-making process and referring to the “Homestead blunder” (Standiford 228). The two men clashed frequently over management of Carnegie Steel during the following years, until the company was finally sold to U.S. Steel in 1901. From that point onward, Carnegie devoted himself to philanthropy, providing his workers with generous pensions and founding museums, libraries and educational institutions.
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