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
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
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
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