The Homestead Strike of 1892
Homestead is located on the Monogahela River eight miles from Pittsburgh. In 1892 the town had a population of about 12,000 people. In 1880 it had a population of about 600 people. The town evolved around the Carnegie mills. With out the steel mill the town would have little existence. The mill property covered 600 acres of the 600 acres 37 of that is covered with varies buildings. The mills facilities were lighted by electricity which allowed the mills to run day and night. The steel was used to produce boiler and armor plates, beams and structural iron. Homestead was the main supplier for the United States Navy in armor plates. Homestead had the best technology in steel mills at that time. The mill employed around 4,000 men. The town and the mills were controlled by Andrew Carnegie and Henry Clay Frick.
Andrew Carnegie was a self made entrepreneur he had a monopoly on the steel industry. Carnegie was born the son of a poor weaver in Bunfermline, Scotland. In 1845 he immigrated to the United States with his parents. He was 12 years old when he came to America. Carnegie and his parents settled in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. His first job was with the Pennsylvania Railroad Company. He eventually worked his way up to superintendent of Pittsburgh office and manager of its telegraph lines. At this time he invested in the sleeping car with the inventor Woodruff. The venture made Carnegie a wealthy man. He was still working for the railroad and got promoted to superintendent of the Pittsburgh division. After the Civil War Carnegie saw the potential in the steel industry. He could have stayed and worked with the railroad and been a rich man, but instead he and his brother, Thomas purchased an established rolling mill. From this purchase he would go on and become one of the wealthiest men of his time. Carnegie would implement a new steel refining process developed by Henry Bessemer. The process would convert the big batches of iron into steel. One of the major factors that contributed to Carnegie's success in the steel industry was his willingness to invest and implement new procedures and equipment. Carnegie was a self proclaimed man of the people; he donated millions of dollars to various communities for churches, baths, music hall, and libraries. By the end of his life he had used 350 million of his money on public improvement projects. As an employer he had a high reputation for liberality and sympathetic regard for the well being of his employees until the trouble at Homestead in 1892. Carnegie was not the one in control of the mill during the Homestead Strike, he had left Henry Clay Frick in charge of the mill and dealing with the union. Carnegie saw the advantages in having his own supply of coke, so in 1882 he bought a half interest in the Frick Coke Company for 1.5 million. Six years later, with the death of one of his partners he persuaded Frick to enter the Carnegie Company. The Homestead Strike was a direct result of Frick's actions leading up to the armed confrontation (Wikipedia 2005). Henry Clay Frick
Frick was known as King Coke, because he had a monopoly on the coke in the Connellsville region. Connellsville is located about fifty miles south of Pittsburgh. Coke is used in the manufacturing of steel. By the time he was 21 years old he was the senior partner of a coke business that owned 300 acres and 50 ovens. With the opening of the Mt. Pleasant and Broad Ford railroad gave the coke industry in that region a boost. Frick capitalized on the opportunity. In 1876 Frick bought out his partners and ran the business. By 1890 the Frick Corporation owned and controlled 35,000 acres of coal land and 42 of the 80 plants in the region, 10,046 ovens, three water plants with a pumping capacity of 5,000 gallons daily, and 35 miles of railroad track and 1,200 railroad cars. Frick employed 11,000 men. During...
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Goldner, Cheri (1997, May 10). Henery Clay Frick
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Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh Printing Co, 1893.
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