Wittgenstein, Carl

(1847–1913)
   One of the leading industrialists to appear during the great surge in the economy of the Habsburg Empire in the second half of the 19th century, Wittgenstein was born outside of Leipzig in Germany. He was of Jewish extraction. Musically talented, he spent the year 1865–1866 in the United States, where he supported himself playing in theater pit orchestras. He also acquired a lifetime taste for the American style of competitive capitalism and its practitioners, including the steel magnate Andrew Carnegie, whom Wittgenstein greatly admired. Returning to Austria, Wittgenstein, who had some training as an engineer, embarked in 1877 upon an ambitious program of acquiring iron, steel, and related industries throughout the Habsburg Empire. Some of his tactics were legally and ethically questionable. Nevertheless, they brought him huge industrial holdings throughout Bohemia and Styria. His greatest triumph was becoming the majority stockholder in the Austrian Alpine Mine Works in 1897 (OesterreichischeAlpinen Montangesellschaft), which he then proceeded to rationalize and consolidate.
   After the turn of the 20th century, Wittgenstein withdrew from daily business activity. He wrote widely about what he believed to be the problems of commerce and manufacture within the Habsburg Empire, among them politicians who had no understanding of economic matters and the financial concessions to Hungarian nationalism embedded in the Ausgleich. The father of the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, Carl Wittgenstein was a generous patron of the arts.

Historical dictionary of Austria. . 2014.

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