John W. Mackay: The Silver King
The January 4, 1899, telegram from G. Marconi to Alexander Graham Bell bears John Mackay's name in two prominent places -- as president of both the Commercial Cable Company and the Postal Telegraph Cable Company, two of the largest telegraph companies in the world. Mr. Mackay was a corporate titan, incomparably wealthy, and was known as amiable, well-liked and highly regarded, as well as aggressive and deliberate. The route Mackay took to the top of the corporate world was not foreseeable or direct. The Irish-born immigrant arrived in New York as a child. He was only 11 years old when his father died. Dropping out of school to support his mother and sister, Mackay apprenticed as a ship's carpenter, working with tools and honing a variety of skills that would later become useful in the Comstock Lode.