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 United States.
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 Pullman Strike.
Who were 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 Haymarket Riot.
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 Ferris Wheel 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 Erie Canal 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 became the center of trade and finance in the United States. His contribution has led us to include him on our list of the Captains of Industry.
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. The 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 History.