Schwab, Charles M.

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Schwab, Charles M. (Michael)

(1862–1939) industrialist; born in Williamsburg, Pa. He began in Andrew Carnegie's Braddock steelworks as an engineer's helper and rose to chief engineer and assistant manager by age 19. Combining an ability to utilize the new technology and methods with an ability to deal with people, he rose in Carnegie's organization until he became president of Carnegie Steel Company (1897). In this post he helped Carnegie sell the properties to J. P. Morgan for the formation of U.S. Steel (1901), of which he became the first president. He resigned in 1903 and joined Bethlehem Steel Corporation, building it into a major steel producer by his progressive management policies. He built submarines for Allied clients in World War I and was drafted by President Wilson to direct the Emergency Fleet Corporation (1918). From 1927–32 he presided over the American Iron and Steel Institute. With a fortune once estimated at $200 million, he died insolvent from a combination of lavish living and bad business investments.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.