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Series III. Carnegie Company, 1900-1901

Historical Background

The Carnegie Company was formally organized in New Jersey on March 24, 1900. The company owned the stock of the Carnegie Steel Company, Limited, a corporation formed to carry on the various steel and iron establishments, plants and properties in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, region. The Carnegie Company controlled the plants and properties which mined and manufactured coal, coke, iron, and steel. The Carnegie Company in total owned and controlled thirteen companies: Edgar Thomson Furnaces, Duquesne Furnaces, Carrie Furnaces, Lucy Furnaces, Edgar Thomas Steel Works, Duquesne Steel Works, Homestead Steel Works, Upper Union Mills, Lower Union Mills, Keystone Bridge Works, Youghiogheny Coke Works, Lorimer Coke Works, and Pittsburgh Bessemer & Lake Erie Railroad. The Carnegie Company was formed by merger of Carnegie Steel Company, Limited, and the H.C. Frick Coke Company. The directors of the Carnegie Company were President Charles Schwab, Vice President Henry Phipps, Secretary Andrew M. Moreland, and William W. Blackburn. The company had an authorized capital of $160,000,000. The properties of this company constituted the largest aggregation of industries under one management in the world at the time.

The newly formed company continued to be competitive and superior by continually expanding and acquiring new resources, but, this expansion was closely watched by Carnegie’s rivals. The merger piqued the interest of J.P. Morgan, railroad magnate and chairman of Federal Steel Company who became aware that Carnegie’s expansion could ruin his steel interests. In December of 1900, Charles M. Schwab, president of the Carnegie Steel Company, was honored at a dinner that was held at the University Club in New York City. Many prominent businessmen like Andrew Carnegie, J.P. Morgan, and Standard Oil President, H.H. Rogers, attended the dinner. After the dinner, Schwab was asked to give a speech on his vision of the steel industry in the twentieth century. Schwab’s vision included the U.S. steel industry taking on foreign steelmakers by uniting firms and combining complementary operations while slashing costs across the board.

Morgan was so impressed by what Schwab envisioned that he asked to have a meeting with him. At first Schwab refused, but eventually agreed due to Morgan’s persistence. Both men met secretly to discuss buying out Carnegie’s shares. While Schwab met with Carnegie and eventually convinced him to sell, the principal architect of the deal was Elbert H. Gary, who became U. S. Steel's first chairman. Gary and Morgan bought Carnegie's steel company for $480,000,000 and combined it with their holdings in the Gary’s Federal Steel Company. Carnegie’s empire ended on February 25, 1901, when he agreed to sign an agreement to sell his company.

The combination of steel operations owned by Andrew Carnegie with Gary's Federal Steel Company became the nucleus of United States Steel, which also included American Steel & Wire Company, National Tube Company, American Bridge Company, Federal Steel Company, American Tin Plate Company, American Steel Hoop Company, American Sheet Steel Company, and several smaller companies. The United States Steel Corporation was incorporated on February 25, but was officially in business on April 1, 1901.

Scope and Content Notes:

This series contains the records of the Carnegie Company for the years 1900 to 1901. Records include agreements, certificates, correspondence, memoranda, minutes, notes, financial statements, and monthly sales comparisons. The correspondence mostly contains original letters and copies to and from Henry Clay Frick. There are company statements that are from the office of the secretary and the accounting department.

The remaining material contains record books, labeled as “The Carnegie Company Organization Records.” These record books consist of the company charter, by-laws, Oaths and Certificates, and minutes of the first meeting. The other record book deals with company bond matters. The materials in this collection date from 1900 to 1901. Material related to this series can be found in Carnegie Steel Company Series and H.C. Frick Coke Company Series.

Box 9
Folder 1 Accounting Department, September 1900, October 1900
Folder 2 Agreement, February 4, 1901
Folder 3 Business Merger, June 14, 1900
Folder 4 Comparisons, April 30, 1900, May 1, 1900
Folder 5 Correspondence, September 18, 1900-April 16, 1901
Folder 6 Disposition of Stock, April 2, 1901
Folder 7 Memoranda, April 1, 1900-April 22, 1901
Folder 8 Minutes, April 2, 1900-May 8, 1900
Folder 9 Minutes, March 15, 1901, undated
Folder 10 Office of Secretary, April 1900-June 30, 1900
Folder 11 Receipt Voucher, April 18, 1900
Folder 12 Record book, “The Carnegie Company Organization Records,” 1900
Folder 13 Record book, Carnegie Company Bond, November 21, 1900-March 18, 1901
Folder 14 By-Laws, March 27, 1900
Folder 15 Charter, undated
Folder 16 Collateral Deed of Trust, April 2, 1900