Homestead: A Complete History of the Struggle of July, 1892

By Arthur G. Burgoyne, 1893.

This excerpt was scanned from pages 3-5 of the opening chapter titled "Capital in its Stronghold."

HOMESTEAD AND ITS MILLS--THE RISE PROGRESS OF THE CARNEGIE FIRM--HOW THE "STAR SPANGLED SCOTCHMAN " MADE FORTUNE--HE LABORS FOR YEARS AND LAPSES INTO LUXURY--H. C. FRICK'S CAREER AS COKE KING AND IRON MASTER--THE FINE ART OF CRUSHING STRIKES--CARNEGIE AND FRICK JOIN HANDS AND THE LATTER BECOMES THE MASTER-SPIRIT--CONDITION OF ORGANIZED LABOR AT HOMESTEAD

In a bend of the south bank of the Monongahela River, eight miles from Pittsburgh, nestles the thriving town of Homestead, a place of about 12,000 inhabitants, built up by the wealth and enterprise of the Carnegie Steel Company and the thrift of the artisans employed by that great manufacturing corporation.

Without the Carnegie mills there would be no Homestead. Like the mushroom towns that sprang up along the Northern Pacific Railroad while the line was in process of construction and that died out as fast as the base of operations was shifted, so Homestead sprang into being when the site now occupied by the town was picked out by Andrew Carnegie as a producing center, and so, too, if the Carnegie firm were to move its works to-morrow, would Homestead be blotted off the map, or, at best, reduced to the rank of an insignificant village.

The interdependence of the works and the town is absolute.

The mill property covers 600 acres, bordering on the river, and includes thirty-seven acres under roof. The products comprise boiler and armor plates, beams and structural iron of various kinds. The manufacture of armor-plate for the United States Navy is conducted on a scale of unparalleled magnitude. From the huge hydraulic cranes lifting and carrying from place to place a weight of 200 tons, yet operated easily by one man, down to the delicate machinery in the finishing department the equipment of the armor-plate mill is a marvel of mechanical perfection. The great beam and structural mills, the Bessemer department and the bloom and billet mills are also magnificently equipped and are conducted on a mammoth scale, in comparison with which the operations of other American steel mills are almost insignificant.

Railroad tracks gridiron the yards and nineteen locomotives are required for the transportation of material. The repair shops cut an important figure and an army of blacksmiths, roll-turners, carpenters, tinners and other mechanics is employed to keep every detail of the working equipment in perfect order.

The plant is lighted throughout with electricity.

Within easy reach of the mills are the offices of the mill superintendent and his corps of clerks, draughtsmen and engineers. Eight handsome residences, farther back from the yard, are occupied by the assistant managers. There is also a club house for the use of guests and officers.

The foundation of this immense concern, representing a capital of many millions of dollars, and employing nearly 4,000 men, was laid in 1880, when, according to the census report, Homestead had a population of less than 600. The firm which has made all this possible, which, by virtue of intelligent effort and phenomenal accumulation and utilization of capital has called into being a full-fledged American town, with schools, churches, prosperous, mercantile establishments, independent minor industries and a well-organized municipal government, is controlled by two men, whose names have, through the events to be recorded in this volume, been made familiar as household words the world over--Andrew Carnegie and Henry Clay Frick.


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