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Discover_our_World_Yellow / Lesson 1: Big Business in America (Carnegie and Rockefeller)

Big Business in America (Carnegie & Rockefeller)

Big Business in America Andrew Carnegie & John D. Rockefeller

Big Business in America Andrew Carnegie & John D. Rockefeller


  • The U. S. was called "The invention capital of the World" in the late 1800s

  • The new Inventions changed industries which changed the world

  • Inventors:

  • Thomas Alva Edison-He produced more than 1000 inventions in his workshop in Menlo Park, New Jersey

  • Edison changed electric current into light around 1878----as he perfected the light bulb

  • Alexander Graham Bell---was a teacher for the deaf and he invented the telephone


  • Lewis Latimer : he made the light bulb filament out of carbon which lasted longer than Edison's light bulb

  • Elijah McCoy : invented the "oil cup" which poured oil onto the moving parts of locomotives and machines

Inventions led to Businesses or Companies

  • The Electric Company, The Telephone Company and the Manufacturing Company were businesses that resulted from these new inventions

  • These companies became: McCoy Manufacturing Company, The General Electric Company and Bell Telephone Company

  • These businesses caused the U.S. to become a leading industrial nation by the late 1800s

The Steel Industry

  • Henry Bessemer developed a new way to make steel in the U.S.----this steel was stronger than other steel-his process was known as the Bessemer Process-this was a cheaper process than how steel was made previously

  • Steel became important because it was stronger and now people could make skyscrapers or tall buildings out of this steel

The Steel Industry

  • Andrew Carnegie---a Scottish immigrant who settled in Pittsburgh, PA was paid $1.25 a week at a cotton mill

  • He realized in 1870 that steel could be profitable

  • In 1873 he set up his own steel mill in Pittsburgh, PA---he used Bessemer's method to make steel

Andrew Carnegie

  • Steel production at his company rose from 68,000 tons to 10 million tons

  • His company was called the Carnegie Steel Company

  • Carnegie was made $400 million in the steel industry-which made him the richest man in the world at that time

  • Big Business in America was developing

John D. Rockefeller

  • In the 1860's Americans began to drill for petroleum-which was a fossil fuel in the earth

  • John D. Rockefeller's family was poor

  • Rockefeller knew that kerosene was used in new oil lamps

  • Rockefeller went into the oil refining business in 1865

  • America's First Billionaire

John D. Rockefeller

  • Rockefeller named his company The Standard Oil Company

  • His oil company soon controlled 90% of the oil business in the U.S. by 1878

  • Rockefeller soon became a multi-millionaire


  • Both Carnegie Steel and the Standard Oil Company were two businesses that had formed monopolies in the 1800s

  • A monopoly is a company that controls an entire industry----so it can charge higher prices because it has little or no competition

  • Monopolies are now illegal for this reason

  • The game "Monopoly" came out as a result of the Big Business practices from the 1800s


  • Many new businesses in the 1800s became corporations

  • Corporations are large businesses owned by people who own shares of the company


  • New businesses created new jobs for Americans

  • Many Americans worked in the new businesses-but other Americans continued to work in the sweatshops that started as a result of the American Industrial Revolution

  • Sweatshops---these are small factories in unsafe buildings with unhealthy working conditions-children as young as nine worked in these places

Labor Unions

  • Many workers were not paid well, they were fired when they got hurt and they were not working in good conditions-so labor unions were formed

  • Labor unions are organizations that help fight for better working conditions for workers

  • The business owners fought the labor unions with police

  • The Unions taught people to "strike" for their rights

  • Strikes-this means that the workers refuse to work until the working conditions improve

Samuel Gompers

  • Samuel Gompers founded the American Federation of Labor or AFL in 1886 to help the workers

  • The AFL passed laws that shortened work hours, ended child labor and required companies to pay workers who were hurt on the job

Big Business in America

  • Ever since the 1800s---businesses have been growing in America

  • Businesses have made America a rich and a powerful nation in the world

  • America was a new place as a result of these businesses which resulted from the new inventions