Autobiography of Andrew Carnegie

By Andrew Carnegie | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XVI
MILLS AND THE MEN

THE one vital lesson in iron and steel that I learned in Britain was the necessity for owning raw materials and finishing the completed article ready for its purpose. Having solved the steel-rail problem at the Edgar Thomson Works, we soon proceeded to the next step. The difficulties and uncertainties of obtaining regular supplies of pig iron compelled us to begin the erection of blast furnaces. Three of these were built, one, however, being a reconstructed blast furnace purchased from the Escanaba Iron Company, with which Mr. Kloman had been connected. As is usual in such cases, the furnace cost us as much as a new one, and it never was as good. There is nothing so unsatisfactory as purchases of inferior plants.

But although this purchase was a mistake, directly considered, it proved, at a subsequent date, a source of great profit because it gave us a furnace small enough for the manufacture of spiegel and, at a later date, of ferro-manganese. We were the second firm in the United States to manufacture our own spiegel, and the first, and for years the only, firm in America that made ferromanganese. We had been dependent upon foreigners for a supply of this indispensable article, paying as high as eighty dollars a ton for it. The manager of our blast furnaces, Mr. Julian Kennedy, is entitled to the credit of suggesting that with the ores within reach we could make ferro-manganese in our small furnace. The experiment was worth trying and the result was a great success. We were able to supply the entire American de

-220-

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