Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Andrew Carnegie

Andrew Carnegie was born in Scotland, his father was a poor hand weaver. the family move to the United States in 1848. When he turned twelve, Andrew Carnegie worked as a bobbin boy at a textile factory. The salary was $1.20 per week. When he was fourteen he got a messenger job in a telegraph office, before becoming the secretary of a superintendent and future president of the Pennsylvania Railroad by the name of Thomas Scott. Scott was impressed with Carnegie, and made him the Superintendent when he moved up to President. Carnegie noticed that investing in companies who served the railroads, he could make a lot of money. He bought Iron shares as well as shares in companies that made rail cars and engines, and a company that made railroad bridges. When he was thirty, he made $50 thousand a year, a big jump from $1.20 a week, before quitting his job to do his own business. He traveled to Europe, where he met Sir Henry Bessemer, who had pioneered a way to make steel faster and cheaper to produce.

Carnegie returned to Pittsburgh and opened his own steel company, and bragged about how cheaply he could produce steel. He made the company more efficient by buying coal mines, limestone quarries and iron fields to save money by not having to pay other companies for the raw materials, enabling many businesses and industries to become bigger.

Big Business

Most businesses were small partnerships before the Civil War, but by 1900, larger businesses began to take over the economy. Corporations are what made this possible, organizations owned by many people, but treated as one person. The corporations were able to make contracts, sue people, be sued, own property, and pay taxes, just like an actual person. The corporation owners own stocks in the business, and are so called stockholders. this system allowed the corporation to make money, and the financial risk was divided between more people.

There are two types of costs which businesses have to pay, fixed costs and operating costs. the corporations have to pay the fixed costs no matter whether it is operating or not, and operating costs are only paid when the business is in operation. These wages are similar to the ones that small businesses had to pay, but the were opposites, the Fixed cost of a small business is small while the operating costs were high, making it less expensive to close down a small business, while big businesses had higher fixed costs and lower Operating costs, almost making them recession-proof. This advantage made the bigger businesses more efficient, while small businesses were slowly pushed out.

Friday, January 25, 2013


In 1862, Abraham Lincoln signed an act to build a transcontinental railroad, to be built by two companies, Union Pacific and Central Pacific. The Union Pacific Workers led by Grenville Dodge started in Omaha, Nebraska and headed West. These Workers had problems along the way, including mountain blizzards and scorching desert heat, as well as angry Indians. The workers varied from Civil War Veterans to ex-convicts.

Also helping to build the Railroad was the Central Pacific Workers, headed East from Sacramento, California, and led by Leland Stanford, Charley Crocker, Mark Hopkins, and Collis
P. Huntington. Their workers were mostly Chinese immigrants. The two companies met in Promontory Summit, Utah, where the last spike, made of Gold, was laid, to finish the Transcontinental Railroad.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

New Inventions

It is a great time for inventing in America. There are many inventors creating inventions they believe will change the future. Starting at the top, Mr. Alexander Graham Bell has invented what he calls the telephone, a device that can transport sounds over distances, "like talking through a telegraph" as he explained it to his assistant, Thomas Watson. Bell experimented with sound transmission through electrical current.

Also Thomas Alva Edison has rolled out his perfection of the Light Bulb. the famed inventor of the Phonograph is also known for improving the telegraph. And two brothers believed they have found a way to make people fly. The Wright brothers, Orville and Wilbur, have invented a flying machine to be tested at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.