History

Clan Carnegie

The fact that the Carnegie Museum complex in Oakland happens to be located on Forbes Avenue wouldn’t be particularly noteworthy except that Andrew Carnegie and Brigadier General John Forbes both hail from the small town of Dunfermline, Scotland.

The Watery Part of the World

The standing watch was sent below for wet– weather gear, and the clattering of their feet on the ladder awakened me. I headed above deck, blinking in the light and trying to align the fair skies behind us and the gentle roll of two-​foot waves with the urgency of the…

The Search for the Lost Archives

A lifeguard’s strong dark arms buoy his young, light-​skinned pupil, as other children in the pool cheer their friend’s attempts to swim. The undated, black-​and-​white photo from the archives of the Pittsburgh Courier is part of a century-​long storyline about the lives of African Americans that the newspaper chronicled.

In the American Grain

Who are the preeminent individuals in American business history? A strong case might be made for a quintet: Andrew Carnegie, Henry Ford, Bill Gates, John D. Rockefeller and Sam Walton. Who is primus inter pares? It’s Henry Ford in a walk-​away.

Smilin’ Charlie Schwab

The Christmas season was in full flush Dec. 12 1900 at the University Club in New York, where the city’s financial and industrial elite gathered to honor Charles Michael Schwab, the president of Carnegie Steel.

Money, Power & Purpose

Harvard played its final game of the 1911 baseball season the day after graduation. With Harvard up 41 and one out to go, team captain and star pitcher Charles B. “Chick” McLaughlin called time, for a substitution at first base.

Taking Wing

Not all the thousands of people who regularly pass beneath her glance up, but occasionally, one will stop for a better look. She hangs from the ceiling of the Landside Terminal at Pittsburgh International Airport with her name, Miss Pittsburgh, written on her nose.

The Business of Politics

The year was 1955, the place the long bar at the Carlton House Hotel. Standing as bookends were Pirates sportscaster, Bob “the Gunner” Prince and KDKA newscaster, curly-​haired Bill Burns. Both men were serious drinkers, but the Gunner, resplendent in a canary yellow blazer with an ever-​present screwdriver in hand…

George Westinghouse: The Mystery

It was a dreary fall day when, on a friend’s suggestion, I visited the George Westinghouse Museum in Wilmerding. It is housed inside the former Westinghouse Air Brake offices, a gray stone building with a hint of the medieval, appropriately named “the Castle.”

What is Pittsburgh?

Before Pittsburgh became a place, before it was an idea, before its stories, its heroes, its villains, its tales of exploration, adventure, discovery and struggle became part of the popular imagination and American life, it was a space defined only by the movement of water through mountains, valleys, forests and…

The Wright Way to Fly

A top Kill Devil Hill on North Carolina’s windswept Outer Banks stands a massive granite monument that reads: “In commemoration of the conquest of the air by the brothers Wilbur and Orville Wright. Conceived by genius; achieved by dauntless resolution and incomparable faith.“

The Short, Happy Life of the WASP ascendancy

Once upon a time in America, when the going was good, there emerged what looked like a ruling class. We’ll call it the WASP Ascendancy. Standing for White Anglo-​Saxon Protestant, WASP was coined by University of Pennsylvania sociologist E. Digby Baltzell (19161996).

Mike Benedum: A Character portrait in Oil

Pittsburgh and steel are virtually synonymous. Less well known is Pittsburgh’s rich heritage in the oil business. In 1854, inventor and businessman Samuel L. Kier built the nation’s first oil refinery as a crude, five-​barrel still 100 feet from today’s U.S. Steel Building.

Against All Odds

Until the spring of 1944, Hungary’s pre-​war population of 700,000 Jews remained largely unscathed. Hungarian Regent Nicholas Horthy had resisted Hitler’s calls for the deportation of Hungarian Jews into the killing maw at Auschwitz/​Birkenau, 175 miles north of Budapest.

Henry Clay Frick: Blood Pact

Among the great fortunes of Pittsburgh’s Golden Age (18701910), that of Henry Clay Frick stands third, bested only by Andrew Carnegie and the Mellons. But the extraordinary aspect of the Frick fortune was not its size. Carnegie, Heinz, Mellon and Westinghouse were all entrepreneurs who exercised ultimate control in their…
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