|From||United Kingdom Scotland|
|Birth||11 November 1837, Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland, United Kingdom|
|Death||24 August 1924, Greenwich, Fairfield County, Connecticut, USA (aged 86 years)|
George Lauder (November 11, 1837 – August 24, 1924) was a Scottish industrialist. A trained engineer, he was the "cousin-brother" of steel magnate and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, and a partner in the Carnegie Steel Corporation. The cousins were amongst the richest people in the world at that time, with Lauder worth $19 billion (in 2018 dollars). The sale of Carnegie Steel to J.P. Morgan created U.S. Steel, where Lauder was on the board of directors. In 1901, this became the first corporation in the world with a market capitalization exceeding $1 billion ($43 billion today).
George Lauder was the son of George Lauder, Sr.. and Seaton Morrison. His father, a local shop owner on the high street, also known for his commitment to Scottish nationalism, egalitarian democracy, and the Chartism cause. He was a keen radical for the time, championing the preservation of human and public rights which led to the Reform Acts of 1836. Very well read, Lauder Sr. was instrumental in the upbringing of his only son George, as well as his nephew Andrew Carnegie.
Lauder Jr. and Carnegie were two years apart in age and best friends as a result of their shared experiences. They affectionately referred to one another as "Dod" and "Naig" (respectively), due to their mutual inability to fully say each other's names as young children. After Andrew and his family left for America, George stayed in Scotland where he would go on to graduate from Glasgow University with a degree in mechanical engineering while studying under Lord Kelvin.
In 1873, Carnegie wrote to Lauder, who, despite still living in Scotland, had never ceased to be his closest confidant and advisor, to inquire about a term used in a new contract for the steel for use in the new Eads Bridge in St. Louis, Missouri. The term unknown to Carnegie was 'the modulus of elasticity' of Elastic modulus. Lauder, an academic, answered swiftly and capably which provoked Carnegie to ask Lauder to join him in America as a partner in the Carnegie Steel Corporation. Lauder accepted, and joined Carnegie and the other partners in Pittsburgh.
Lauder brought a new dynamic to the business with his formal education, and expertise in mechanical engineering. Surprisingly, this was both rare and unique among the partners of the business, which included Carnegie, Carnegie's brother (and also Lauder's cousin) Thomas M. Carnegie, Henry Phipps, Jr., and Henry Clay Frick—most of whom had learned business as they went and none of whom had technical training of any kind.
After joining the syndicate, Lauder brought several new developments to the steel industry in America. Included was the process for washing and coking dross from coal mines, which resulted in a significant increase to the overall value of the business and became industry-standard world-wide in the production of steel.
Lauder would also go on to lead the development of the use of steel in armor and armaments, which had been a business Carnegie balked at entering until President Benjamin Harrison personally appealed to him by provoking patriotism. Lauder and Charles M. Schwab would spend significant time at the Krupp factory in Germany in 1886 before returning to build the massive armor plate mill at the Homestead Steel Works that would revolutionize warfare forever.
By the turn of the twentieth century, Lauder was a director of Carnegie Steel, ran both the coke and ore businesses, and was the company's second largest shareholder after Carnegie. After over thirty years as a senior member of the syndicate, Lauder was seen as the "balance wheel" for his moderate and cautious counsel and the lone "brake" for his often impulsive cousin Carnegie. Partner Daniel Clemson referred to Lauder as a "father figure" to the rest of the company.
After the successful sale of Carnegie Steel Corporation to J.P. Morgan, leading to the formation of U.S. Steel in 1901, Lauder joined the board of directors of the new company which became the first corporation in the world with a market capitalization exceeding US$1 Billion.
Marriage and Issue
George Lauder married Anna Maria Romeyn Varick. His wife, a member of old Dutch New York Society, was a descendant of both Joris Jansen Rapelje, among the earliest settlers of New Netherland and a member of the Council of Twelve Men, the first democratic institution in the future United States, and Richard Varick, the second post-colonial (and 45th overall) Mayor of New York City.
George and Anna Maria had three children together, Harriet, George Jr. and Elizabeth.
Daughter Harriet married Dr. James C. Greenway, and together they gifted the endowment that created the Yale School of Public Health. They also purchased what would become the Lauder Greenway Estate in Greenwich. Through them, the senior Lauders' grandchildren include ornithologist James Cowan Greenway and G. Lauder Greenway, who led the Metropolitan Opera Association.
Son George Lauder Jr. became known for his yacht, Endymion, which set a record in 1900 (held until 1905) for the fastest trans-Atlantic crossing. Through him, the senior Lauders' grandchildren included Polly Lauder Tunney, who would marry reigning world heavyweight boxing champion Gene Tunney. Through them, the Lauders' great grandchildren include U.S. Representative and U.S. Senator John V. Tunney.
George Lauder lived out the last eleven years of his life as a widower at the Lauder Greenway Estate in Greenwich, Connecticut. Built for industrialist John Hamilton Gourlie in 1896, it was purchased by Lauder's daughter Harriet in 1905. At the time of purchase, the estate included 57 acres and included fruit-bearing orchards, a chicken and pig farm, as well as the French Renaissance mansion, to which the family added two wings in the early 1910s and expanded the estate to over 100 acres.
Still considered to be "...Greenwich, Conn.’s last Great Estate, an opulent robber baron-era property enveloping 50 prized acres along the tony New York suburb’s waterfront." It is the largest surviving Gilded Age mansion in Connecticut. It became the most expensive private residence in the United States in 2014 when it sold for $120 million ($129.6 million today).