The Captains of
Industry were compassionate men who used their wealth and
influence in a positive way making important contributions to
the nation and to improve the lives of the American people.
The Captains of Industry for kids: Thomas Carlyle coined the term
The term 'Captains of Industry' was coined by Thomas
Carlyle a Scottish writer and historian in his 1843 book called
"Past and Present" in which he commented on the Impact of the
Industrial Revolution during the Victorian era.
The Captains of Industry for kids
The Captains of Industry emerged during the period of intense
economic and industrial growth following the American Civil War
during the US
Industrial Revolution. The
Captains of Industry were successful businessmen who created great
American companies. Unlike the infamous 'Robber Barons', the
Captains of Industry were compassionate men who made important
contributions that had a significant impact on the nation and on the
people of America.
Captains of Industry Definition
Captains of Industry Definition: The men who deserved to be called
Captains of Industry were those who made a positive contribution to
the nation by expanding markets and increasing trade, providing more
jobs and increasing productivity. Some put their wealth to improve
the lives of others with generous acts of philanthropy (charity).
Captains of Industry
Many of these men, called the Captains of Industry, were entrepreneurs who took risks developing the
new inventions and technology during the era of the Industrial
Revolution. Their determination and hard work earned them money,
fame and success. These were men of vision who guided and built new
industries and made a significant contribution to the economy of the
Robber Barons or Captains of Industry?
There is a fine line between some of the men who are frequently
referred to as being 'Captains of
Industry'. Many ordinary American workers would have described these
men as 'Robber Barons'
who used unfair business practices.
A prime example is George Mortimer Pullman (1831 – 1897) who made
his fortune by designing the Pullman sleeping car. Pullman founded a
company town for his workers - the type of action that would
describe one of the Captains of Industry. Pullman might have
initially been well intentioned but later deserved the name 'Robber
Baron'. Following the Panic of 1893, in an effort to keep his
profits, Pullman increased working hours, cut wages and cut jobs
which led to the violent dispute known as the
Captains of Industry? List of Names of
Captains of Industry
Whether a man was referred to as one of the Captains of Industry, or
one of the Robber Barons, depended upon a person's perspective. Our list of the Captains of
Industry include men such as J.P. Morgan, Cyrus McCormick, John D.
Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, George Westinghouse, Thomas Edison,
Charles T. Hinde, George Ferris, De Witt Clinton, Samuel Morse,
Alexander Graham Bell, Alfred DuPont, James J. Hill, Edward
Harriman, James Duke and Cornelius Vanderbilt. A few of these men
also deserved the title of one of the Robber Barons. A short
description of these men defines their contribution to the nation.
For additional facts and information refer to the
Rise of Big
Business and Corporations.
Captains of Industry for kids: Cyrus McCormick
Cyrus McCormick invented the mechanical reaper, opened a factory in
Chicago and was adding £55 million dollars to the wealth of the
nation every year - one of the early Captains of Industry. Cyrus
McCormick died in May 13, 1884.
But two years later in 1886 workers at the McCormick International
Harvester Company in Chicago went on strike which led to the
Captains of Industry for kids: J.P. Morgan
J.P. Morgan was a leading financier who founded the banking company
J.P. Morgan & Co. in 1871. During the
Panic of 1873 the banker
J.P. Morgan bailed out the federal government by loaning the
Treasury $65 million dollars in gold.
Captains of Industry for kids: John D. Rockefeller
John D. Rockefeller (1839–1937) was the head of the Standard Oil
Company, the first great U.S. business trust, and used his fortune
to fund many philanthropic (charitable) causes - one of the great
Captains of Industry. However he was ruthless and used
questionable and unethical methods and would therefore also be
included in a list of the Robber Barons.
Captains of Industry for kids: Andrew Carnegie
Andrew Carnegie (1835–1919), a self-made man who became a steel
tycoon was a Philanthropist and donated towards the expansion of the
New York Public Library.
Andrew Carnegie attempted to
soften the insensitive philosophy of Social Darwinism by publishing
his 1889 article called the 'Gospel of Wealth'. His 'Gospel of
Wealth' described the responsibility of philanthropy by the new
upper class of self-made rich to further social progress and donated
millions of dollars to charitable causes.
Captains of Industry for kids: George Westinghouse
George Westinghouse (1846 – 1914) was an inventor and
entrepreneur. He invented the railway air brake in 1869 which
improved railroad safety. George Westinghouse was also a pioneer in
the electricity industry with the development of alternating current
Captains of Industry for kids: Thomas Edison
Thomas Edison (1847 – 1931) was a great inventor and businessman. He
developed the practical electric light bulb, the phonograph and the
motion picture camera. His inventions impacted the whole world.
Captains of Industry for kids: Charles T. Hinde
Charles T. Hinde (1832 – 1915) was an industrialist
and entrepreneur in the steamboat and railroad industries and one of
the Captains of Industry. Charles T. Hinde was a great
philanthropist who donated to many charities in southern California
and lived a modest lifestyle despite his enormous wealth.
Captains of Industry for kids: George Ferris
George Ferris (1859-1896) was a talented civil engineer, inventor
and an astute businessman involved in large-scale engineering
projects involving the construction of railroads and bridges. He was
the inventor of the
which was the most popular attraction at the
Chicago World's Fair
attracted over 27 million visitors
from all over the world.
Captains of Industry for kids: De Witt Clinton
De Witt Clinton was a man of great vision and responsible for the
construction of the
that was perceived as an engineering marvel and some even called it
the "Eighth Wonder of the World". The Erie Canal system earned over
$120,000,000 in tolls between 1826 and 1883 and
New York City
the center of trade and finance in the United States. His
contribution has led us to include him on our list of the Captains
Captains of Industry for kids: James Duke
James Duke (1856 – 1925) was a U.S. tobacco tycoon and electric
power industrialist. He is famous as one of the Captains of Industry
for the Duke Endowment, a $40 million trust fund, and the
establishment of Duke University
Captains of Industry: Samuel Morse
Samuel Morse (1791-1872) developed and patented the
first electrical telegraph in the United States in 1837.
invention of the Morse Code
and the first telegraph
line enabled people to communicate instantly
over distances that once required days or weeks of travel.
Captains of Industry: Alexander Graham Bell
Alexander Graham Bell (1847 – 1922) was a great inventor and
engineer who developed the telephone in 1876 and was one of the
founders of American Telephone & Telegraph (AT&T). Can you imagine a
world without telephones?
Captains of Industry: Alfred DuPont
Alfred DuPont (1864 – 1935) was a great American industrialist,
financier and philanthropist. He registered over 200 patents for
improving machinery in the gunpowder making process.
Captains of Industry: Cornelius Vanderbilt
Cornelius Vanderbilt (1794–1877) was an industrialist in railroads
and steamboats. He accumulated the largest fortune in the United
States. at the time of his death and was known as a great
Philanthropist. Although undoubted one of the Captains of Industry
he was a ruthless businessman who cut shipping rates forcing his
competitors out of business which gained the reputation of one of
the Robber Barons.
Captains of Industry: James J. Hill
James J. Hill (1838 – 1916) was a railroad industrialist who was
known as 'The Empire Builder'. Unlike many of the Robber Barons he
was supportive of farmers and during the depression and times of
drought he donated cattle and grain to the farmers. He deserved the
name as one of the Captains of Industry.
Captains of Industry for kids: Edward Harriman
Edward Harriman (1895 - 1978) was a financier and
philanthropist who formed the banking firm Harriman Brothers and
Company. He was the trustee of the American Museum of Natural