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Series II. Carnegie Brothers & Company, Limited, 1867-1894

Historical Background

In the early 1880s, Andrew Carnegie decided to consolidate his steel interests by combining his Pittsburgh based businesses of the Lucy Furnaces, Edgar Thomson Steel Works, Monastery Coke Works, Carnegie & Company’s Larimer Coke Works, Sciota Ore Mines, and Union Iron Mills into one company formally organized under the name Carnegie Brothers & Company, Limited. The consolidation provided the new company with an interest of approximately $5 million dollars, with Carnegie owning more than half. In the same year, Henry Clay Frick began to supply the newly formed company with coal and coke needed for the production and transport of iron and steel. Frick eventually became the main supplier of coke to Carnegie’s mills. With the death of Thomas Carnegie, Andrew’s brother and business partner, in 1886, Frick was given the opportunity to manage a portion of the company. Frick, insuring his investment in the business, bought a small portion of the company’s shares. With increasing responsibilities in the company, Frick was promoted and named chairman of Carnegie Brothers & Company, Limited. In this position Frick moved quickly and assisted in the reorganization of Carnegie’s steel businesses. Frick initiated far-reaching improvements and directed the buy out of Carnegie’s chief competitor, Duquesne Steel Works. In 1892, Frick persuaded Carnegie to merge Carnegie Brothers & Company, Limited and Carnegie, Phipps & Company into one large company: Carnegie Steel Company, Limited. This merger to Carnegie Steel was formally organized on July 1, 1892.

The Carnegie Brothers & Company, Limited had investments and contracts in railway production and transport. The company had many business contacts most notably being the Steel Patent Company, Pittsburgh & Western Railway, Rail Makes’ Association, and Keystone Bridge Company. The Steel Patent Company of Philadelphia advised steel companies on litigation over steel patents and processes. The Rail Makers’ Association was created by a group of companies that were involved in rail production. Businesses like the Carnegie companies, Illinois Steel Company, Bethlehem Iron Company, and many others wanted to secure uniformity of the railways. The Pittsburgh and Western Railway Company was originally organized on September 7, 1877 under the name of the Pittsburgh, New Castle & Lake Erie Railroad. Carnegie Brother & Company, Limited was an investor and supplier to the Pittsburgh and Western Railway. Carnegie and several associates also reorganized the Piper and Schiffler Company to create the Keystone Bridge Company which produced iron materials for building railroad bridges.

Scope and Content Notes:

This series contains materials of the Carnegie Brothers & Company, Limited, including business records, correspondence, agreements, reports, financial statements, estimates, copybooks, and a court case that documents the business deals with railway, steel, and patent companies. The majority of the material consists of incoming correspondences to Frick from such noted businessmen as Robert F. Kennedy, President of Steel Patents Company and Rail Maker’s Association secretary; Henry Oliver, Pittsburgh and Western Railway Company President; A.L. Griffin, President of Keystone Bridge Company; Charles M. Schwab, general Superintendent of Edgar Thomson Steel Works and Furnaces; and C.L. Strobel, Chief Engineer of Keystone Bridge Company. Other materials pertaining to specific interests of Carnegie and Frick include dealings with local businesses such as Duquesne Steel Works and Carnegie Natural Gas Company.

The materials date from 1867 to 1894; however, the bulk of the materials are from 1886 to 1891. There are also two letterpress copybooks that contain outgoing letters from the company’s Chairman, H.C. Frick, to various businessmen, including Andrew Carnegie. The record books date from January 1889 to January 1892.

Related Material:

Additional letterpress copybooks that contain outgoing correspondence from Henry Clay Frick to Andrew Carnegie can also be found in Series IX. Correspondence, 1883-1919, Subseries 1. Andrew Carnegie, 1883-1912. Abstracts and digitized contents are available.

Box 6
Folder 1 Carnegie Brothers Formation Agreement, April 1, 1881
Folder 2 Carnegie Brothers & Company, Ltd. Statements, October 1888-April 1892
Folder 3 Carnegie Brothers & Company, Ltd. Valuations of Taxable Property, May 21, 1892
Folder 4 Carnegie Brothers & Company, Ltd. Correspondence, February 27, 1889-July 7, 1892
Folder 5 Adam Robb v. Carnegie Brothers & Company, Ltd., Court Cases, October 23, 1889, October 5, 1891
Folder 6 Carnegie Brothers & Company, Ltd. Iron Ore Matters, November 4, 1889-June 1, 1892
Folder 7 Carnegie Brothers & Company, Ltd. Notes, December 1-3, 1889, August 31, 1890
Folder 8 Shareholders Agreements Copy, December 10, 1886-December 8, 1891
Folder 9 Shareholders List, December 31, 1887, November 1, 1889, June 30, 1892
Folder 10 Shareholders Meeting Notes, January 4, 1889-May 4, 1891
Folder 11 Duquesne Steel Works, March 1, 1891, July 12, 1891
Folder 12 Carnegie Natural Gas Company, April 16, 1892
Folder 13 Railroad Contractors Act, March 18, 1873, April 18, 1874
Folder 14 Rail Carrier Patent, Andrew Gustin Correspondence, October 30, 1889-April 30, 1890
Folder 15 Gjers Soaking Pit Patent, John Gjers Correspondence, September 30, 1882- July 7, 1891
Folder 16 Reese Tar Brick Patent, Robert Kennedy Correspondence, July 11, 1891-February 3, 1894
Folder 17 Patents, United States Patent Office, August 13, 1867-October 12, 1886
Folder 18 Pittsburgh & Western Railway Company, November 21, 1889-July 16, 1891
Folder 19 Pittsburgh & Western Railway Company, General Ledger Balance, February 28-November 1, 1890
Folder 20 Pittsburgh & Western Railway Company, September 23-October 7, 1890
Folder 21 Pittsburgh & Western Railway Company, June 1890-July 1, 1891
Folder 22 Pittsburgh & Western Railway Company, September 19-October 16, 1891

Box 7
Folder 1 Rail Maker’s Association, February 4, 1889-October 15, 1891
Folder 2 Keystone Bridge Company, Agreement, October 15, 1891
Folder 3 Keystone Bridge Company, Correspondence, May 2, 1890-October 16, 1891
Folder 4 Keystone Bridge Company, Correspondence, January 1892-February 11, 1893
Folder 5 Keystone Bridge Company, Correspondence, January 1892-February 11, 1893
Folder 6 Keystone Bridge Company, Financial Matters, October 24, 1890-February 9, 1892
Folder 7 Keystone Bridge Company, Financial Matters, Property, January 1, 1892-February 11, 1893
Folder 8 Keystone Bridge Company, Stockholders, December 29, 1890-March 22, 1892

Box 8
Volume 1 H.C. Frick Letterpress Copybook, January 28, 1889-April 24, 1890

The letterpress copybooks comprises copies of outgoing correspondence from H.C. Frick to numerous individuals. Due to the significance of Frick's correspondence with Andrew Carnegie in particular, abstracts were created for these specific letters by History undergraduate students interning at the Archives Service Center. The numbering besides each item below refers to the page number in the copybook where the letter can be found.

23. Frick wires Carnegie about his conversation with Mr. Pitcairn. Pitcairn states he showed a letter to Mr. Roberts and returned it to Frick. Frick understands Carnegie's course of action, but is regretful about it. April 6, 1889
25. Frick writes that he gave Mr. Oliver the letter to Measrs. E. D. Morgan to authorize purchase of stock [for Pittsburgh & Western Railway Co.]. April 9, 1889
26. Frick confirms their recent stock purchase and writes that he is going to see Mr. Quay about some legislation. April 10, 1889
28. Frick writes on the [Pennsylvania & Western Railway Co.] stock. April 11, 1889
29. Frick writes on the Pennsylvania & Western Railway Co. stock, Mr. Phipps having returned, and his trip to Philadelphia and New York. April 12, 1889
30. Frick writes that he has already paid for 7,645 shares and Mr. Oliver is in New York, [N.Y.] and will call on Carnegie today. April 13, 1889
35. Frick writes that it seems necessary for Carnegie Bros. & Co. to purchase half of the Callery Estate at once. April 17, 1889
37. Frick writes on arranging the purchase of 100,000 tons of Norrie Ore at $4.25. April 19, 1889
40. Frick wires Carnegie about Mr. Oliver being confident in his election. April 19, 1889
41. Frick includes a previous telegram message in his letter, and writes on the progress of the Callery stock purchase. April 19, 1889
42. Frick wires Carnegie on the Cleveland party being in Hot Springs, opening negotiations with Cochran of Brown & Cochran, and asking Carnegie to meet him in Philadelphia on Tuesday. April 20, 1889
44. Frick wires Carnegie on Abbott informing him that a line has been located and that he will look into in it next week. April 20, 1889
45. Frick wires Carnegie telling him that he'll meet Carnegie in Philadelphia on May 3rd and that Mr. Potter sent Frick a letter about Norrie Ore. April 25, 1889
47. Frick writes on his proposition to Mr. Leisenring and Mr. Potter's refusal to sell ore at their requested amount. April 25, 1889
55. Frick addresses Carnegie's concerns about stock purchasing, that individuals can issue bonds to any amount, while corporations are limited. May 13, 1889
62. Frick writes to Carnegie on E.D. Morgan's telegram message that asked Frick if he wanted to purchase additional stock, and Frick includes his telegram response that confirms the purchase of the additional stock. May 21, 1889
102. Frick wires Carnegie on the price of ore mixture and that Warrant has full information, including ore cost. July 12, 1889
127. Frick writes on growing worker agitation in coke region and possible strike on August 1st. July 31, 1889
130. Frick wires Carnegie a coded message. August 1, 1889
133. Frick wires Carnegie a coded message that is on negotiations. August 6, 1889
146. Frick wires Carnegie a coded message that mentions contracts for a furnace. August 16, 1889
162. Frick writes that George Oliver is offering $300,000 for Beaver [Falls works]. August 31, 1889
163. Frick asks Carnegie if they should accept George Oliver's offer and sell Beaver Falls works. August 31, 1889
165. Frick writes to Carnegie on the Eland matter and the Long Branch meeting with names being coded. August 31, 1889
167. Frick alerts Carnegie of an important letter sent to Orange, [N.J]. August 31, 1889
169. Frick asks Carnegie if his mailed letter will reach him at Orange, [N.J.]. September 2, 1889
170. Frick includes Carnegie's own telegrams in letter, and Frick states that he isn't committed to George Oliver's purchase. September 2, 1889
174. Frick wires Carnegie telling him that he isn't committed to George Oliver. September 3, 1889
178. Frick wires Carnegie on pig [iron] costs, rail practice being worse this year, and the estimate for August. September 6, 1889
215. Frick wires Carnegie on introducing the new General Superintendent[Mr. Schwab], who was well received. October 10, 1889
230. Frick writes Carnegie about his conversation with Mr. Oliver and Frick's refusal to sell Beaver [Falls Works] for less than $500,000. October 17, 1889
241. Frick tells Carnegie that they are ready to make billets, Mr. Leishman will see Carnegie in New York soon, and that Frick hasn't heard from Drexel [and Co.] yet. Beneath Frick wires Carnegie on Drexel [and Co.] accepting. October 19, 1889
254. Frick will be on lookout for letter and is leaving for Philadelphia tomorrow. Beneath Frick wires Carnegie on morning dispatch of interviews, specifically William Stewart's, stating that ore rates will not be raised until at least May. October 30, 1889
255. Frick states that he gives no credence to newspaper articles on ore rates, and has recently seen Oliver. October 30, 1889
255. Frick wires Carnegie on Elands operations confirmation and George Oliver's expected acceptance of their proposition. [Attached to previous correspondence.] October 31, 1889
272. Frick wires Carnegie on his conversation with Abbott about Stroble and on Curry being in Cleveland, [O.H]. November 16, 1889
277. Frick wires Carnegie on sending Hurst to San Francisco with Vandevort accompanying him. November 21, 1889
278. Frick wires Carnegie on his interview with [William] Park, and how Park would like to meet with Carnegie on Saturday in New York, [N.Y.]. November 21, 1889
279. Frick writes to Carnegie on his conversation with [William] Park to purchase his company [Allegheny Steel] for $600,000. November 21, 1889
280. Frick wires Carnegie telling him that he is closing with Pickands for 175 and [Alfred] Chandler for 150 more of Minnesota [Iron Company]. November 22, 1889
281. Frick writes Carnegie, telling him that he doesn't have much faith in [John] Potter. November 22, 1889
283. Frick writes on his meeting with the Board of Managers to discuss the Eland matter and also on a conversation with [William] Park. November 25, 1889
287. Frick writes Mr. [John] Vandevort's telegram to Carnegie and includes his response. November 25, 1889
288. Frick wires Carnegie about a serious explosion involving Eland, and now Frick's travel plans to Chicago will be delayed. November 26, 1889
291. Frick writes about a conflict involving Mr. Potter. November 26, 1889
296. Frick asks if a letter should be mailed to either New York or Washington. November 30, 1889
297. Frick tells Carnegie that he's wrong on the phosphorus. November 30, 1889
298. Frick asks for Carnegie's approval to telegram Mr. Morse about purchasing Norrie ore, writes about his upcoming trip to Chicago, and responds to Carnegie's note about "Pig." November 30, 1889
301. Frick tells Carnegie that a paper was mailed to Washington [D.C.], that there are no recent rail orders, and mentions November production rates for the Bessemer and Lucy's. December 2, 1889
307. Frick wires Carnegie about a "pig firm", and he will mail a detailed statement later on. December 7, 1889
307. Frick wires Carnegie and tells him that Mr. Morse would like Frick to be in Chicago tomorrow for the Norrie matter. [Attached to previous correspondence.] December 9, 1889
308. Frick writes to Carnegie about his conversation with Mr. [John] Munhall in Homestead about purchasing property. Also, Frick comments on the status of the Homestead Works and his visit to see Mr. Morse in Chicago. December 9, 1889
320. Frick asks Carnegie for a "yes or no" answer on Norrie. December 20, 1889
322. Frick writes to Carnegie on Mr. Lauder wanting to withdraw some of his interest. December 23, 1889
395. Frick writes about buying Semple's stock. February 14, 1890
397. Frick tells Carnegie that he wishes Humphrey could be kept East until option is secured on Semple stock. February 15, 1890
400. Frick relays a message from J.T. Odall of Baltimore & Ohio Road Baltimore to Carnegie that asks if the President will go to Pittsburgh next Wednesday. February 17, 1890
420. Frick writes that he saw Sheppard and that the Wednesday meeting is postponed. He also asks Carnegie if he can meet him in Philadelphia for the Messemer Steel Co. meeting. March 3, 1890
422. Frick writes that he will not be visiting the Ore Mines, would like to see Carnegie in Philadelphia for the Bessemer Steel Co., Ltd. annual meeting, responds to Carnegie's letter on the Pittsburgh central Railroad, and mentions the possibility of getting a contract with Mr. Westinghouse. March 3, 1890
425. Frick writes that Carnegie hasn't responded to Frick's suggested meeting, and he would like him to do so. March 4, 1890
484. Frick writes that Mr. Oliver settled with Mr. McCullough to setting ore rates at $1.05, and Frick was disappointed that he couldn't drop the rate to $1.00. May 20, 1889
486. Frick writes about his conversation with Mr. Vance of the Carnegie Co-operative Store Co. and how the store is doing poorly, and suggests some ideas to Carnegie on it. May 1, 1889
488. Frick writes that they have settled with the Callery & Downing Estate, but they did some editing to the paperwork. April 30, 1889
490. Frick writes to Carnegie about the editing changes to the paperwork for the closing of the Callery & Downing Estate. Frick asks if Carnegie has further suggestions on it. April 29, 1889
492. Frick writes on Mr. Oliver closing the Callery & Downing Estate and mentions Mr. Moore selling his option. April 27, 1889
494. Frick writes on wanting to set ore rates at $1.00 and on Mr. Moore selling his property. April 27, 1889
497. Frick writes on business in the Connellsville Coke Region, and mentions that Mr. Morse would be a good person to work with Mr. Rainey. April 20, 1889
Volume 2 H.C. Frick Letterpress Copybook, April 24, 1890-January 12, 1892
17. Frick writes that the letter on Coke will be valuable, and he includes his travel itinerary. May 14, 1890
88. Frick writes that the councils approve. August 4, 1890
101. Frick writes that he will postpone the execution contract until Carnegie returns. August 29, 1890
123. Frick welcomes Carnegie home and mentions that Mr. [John] Leishman is in New York, [N.Y.]. Beneath Frick thanks Carnegie for his inquiry. September 29, 1890
164. Frick writes that a report from the Commercial Gazette called Mr. Curry with private information, stating that Allegheny Bessemer Steel Company was going to be controlled by Carnegie, Phipps & Company soon. November 3, 1890
169. Frick writes that he agrees with Mr. Phipps that it would be better for Carnegie to visit before Phipps leaves. November 13, 1890
171. Frick wires Carnegie telling him that the papers are signed, and they will assume control on the 21st. November 14, 1890
177. Frick wires Carnegie stating that Mr. Roberts is all right, and that collections are fair and bank balances are good. November 25, 1890
188. Frick wires Carnegie telling him to cable Lauder to delay making drafts for tools purchased until after January 1st. December 9, 1890
190. Frick wires Carnegie on the ability to arrange with Mr. Newell tomorrow. Also, Hoffman of Philadelphia is in town, and Frick includes his upcoming schedule. December 9, 1890
194. Frick writes that Mr. [Charles] Schwab was informed of wages not being advanced at Edgar Thomson Steel Works. December 10, 1890
203. Frick returns Mr. Thurston's December 9th letter to Carnegie and writes that they do have an Emery testing machine at their 33rd Street mill that they use. December 16, 1890
215. Frick writes to Carnegie about his conversation with Mr. [Henry] Oliver regarding Pittsburgh & Western matters. December 22, 1890
224. Frick wires Carnegie on blast furnace men having notified [Charles] Schwab that they will strike unless their hours are reduced. Frick includes a suggested course of action. December 30, 1890
227. Frick wires Carnegie on Mr. Gayley and how he has written Carnegie. December 30, 1890
233. Frick includes a letter date on December 31 from their General Superintendent, and writes that he didn't find Mr. Lauder's report on file, and comments on manufacturing plans at Edgar Thomson. January 1, 1891
234. Frick includes correspondence between him and [Charles] Schwab and writes that the Sheriff has promised them protection. January 1, 1891
235. Frick wires Carnegie telling him that newspaper reports are exaggerated and that last night and this morning was quiet. January 2, 1891
244. Frick wires Carnegie telling him that things are quiet at Bessemer with no new developments. January 3, 1891
244. Frick wires Carnegie asking him to write the President to urge the appointment of James H. Reed as District Judge of U.S. Court of Western Pennsylvania. [Attached to previous correspondence.] January 3, 1891
247. Frick wires Carnegie telling him that things look favorable at Bessemer. January 5, 1891
252. Frick includes telegram from [Henry] Oliver on a price quote. January 9, 1891
253. Frick writes that he saw [Henry] Oliver last night and was told that the party is expected to purchase at full price. January 10, 1891
287. Frick writes to Carnegie on miscommunication about a price quote. January 21, 1891
318. Frick wires Carnegie about Mr. Mayer, who seems pleased with matters. February 10, 1891
330. Frick wires Carnegie on current business, a naval contract, and the piety matter. February 17, 1891
335. Frick wires Carnegie on the piety matter and the January [1891] net. February 23, 1891
363. Frick responds to Carnegie's telegram on Pittsburgh & Western stock. March 17, 1891
365. Frick wires Carnegie a telegram message from Mr. Lauder on Evans buying mixer patents for their price. March 18, 1891
366. Frick writes to Carnegie on Pittsburgh & Western and the common stock. March 18, 1891
387. Frick writes to Carnegie on how to make Keystone a department of Carnegie, Phipps, & Company. March 27, 1891
397. Frick writes on the purchase of Lassig Bridge Works and concentrating their business. March 30, 1891
402. Frick responds to Carnegie's comments on settling the difficulties in the coke regions, and writes on the current strike at Edgar Thomson. April 1, 1891
444. Frick wires Carnegie telling him that the strike continues, but other works are running well. May 20, 1891
450. Frick wires Carnegie telling him that they can purchase undivided half McClure at fair price, and asks if he approves. May 25, 1891
459. Frick wires Carnegie telling him that McClure is doubtful and that indebtedness is larger than represented. May 28, 1891
467. Frick wires Carnegie if he would accept governor's appointment as head of Worlds Fair Commission from Penna. June 8, 1891
468. Frick wires Carnegie on pending negotiations with McClure. June 8, 1891
475. Frick wires Carnegie on rail orders and [F.M.] Folger's visit to Homestead. June 17, 1891
481. Frick writes to Carnegie on the expiration of an option for Allegheny Bessemer Steel Company bonds given by William G. Park, and how Mr. Phipps would like to negotiate the sale of them. June 20, 1891
482. Frick wires Carnegie a coded message. June 22, 1891
504. Frick wires Carnegie a coded message. July 7, 1891
509. Frick wires Carnegie a coded message. July 9, 1891
520. Frick wires Carnegie on the possibility of splitting bonds between [John T.] Terry and themselves. Also, states that the armor plant will be ready in ten days. July 15, 1891
521. Frick wires Carnegie, telling him "It's a splendid start" and "perhaps this morning." July 16, 1891
525. Frick wires Carnegie a coded message. July 17, 1891
534. Frick wires Carnegie that tests are still being conducted for the government and that [F.M.] Folger would like to defer until definitive results are obtained. August 21, 1891
555. Frick writes on the agreement covering Sparrows Point, a court injunction against Philadelphia Company, and the status of Harveyized plates. September 28, 1891
635. Frick writes on reasons why Carnegie should increase the capital stock of Carnegie, Phipps, and Company. November 27, 1891
655. Partners extend congratulations, cordiality and best wishes for the new year to Carnegie and his wife. December 25, 1891
657. Frick writes on sending Mr. [James] Swank money from the Bessemer Association, installing long distance telephone lines to their principal cities, their Columbian exhibit, and Frick comments on Carnegie's interview with [Secretary of the Navy] Tracy. December 26, 1891
665. Frick writes on Mr. Ferguson's reasons as to why it would be a mistake to adopt the Alden plans. December 26, 1891
695. Frick wires Carnegie that they were slightly overbid by a real estate broker, but is confident that they will secure the farm. July 26, 1891