Sunday, August 17, 2008

Beards of Pittsburgh: Andrew Carnegie

In celebration of the 250th anniversary of the founding of the city of Pittsburgh, I will be featuring notable beards and the beards of notables from the Steel City.

The most notable of those notables is, of course, Andrew Carnegie. The teenage Carnegie settled in the city of Allegheny (now Pittsburg's North Side) in 1848. Starting as a telegraph messenger boy in the Pittsburgh Office of the Ohio Telegraph Company, at $2.20 per week he worked his way up to found and command Carnegie Steel Company and become one of the wealthiest men in the world. When Carnegie Steel was sold in 1901, he made $125 million off the deal.

For as much as Carnegie was the industrial heart of Pittsburgh, he also contributed significantly to it's soul. His philanthropy funded some 3,000 libraries, located in 47 states, 19 of them in Pittsburgh. He also founded the Carnegie Institute of Technology (today, Carnegie-Mellon University) and the Carnegie Museum.

"Man does not live by bread alone. I have known millionaires starving for lack of the nutriment which alone can sustain all that is human in man, and I know workmen, and many so-called poor men, who revel in luxuries beyond the power of those millionaires to reach. It is the mind that makes the body rich."

And his beard. . . his finely manicured beard evolved from something fairly mundane into a brilliant and famous white respectability. Many professionally made photographs show a stern demeanor, not unexpected for a multi-national tycoon controlling a massive steel empire, but when he chose to smile, his bead afforded Carnegie a grandfatherly appearance.

No comments: