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British Industrial History

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George Westinghouse

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George Westinghouse, Jr (October 6, 1846 – March 12, 1914) was an American entrepreneur and engineer who invented the railway air brake and was a pioneer of the electrical industry.

Westinghouse was one of Thomas Edison's main rivals in the early implementation of the American electricity system. Westinghouse's system, which used alternating current (AC), ultimately prevailed over Edison's which used direct current.

1846 Born son of George Westinghouse, Senior, whose manufacturing business, G. Westinghouse & Co, was located in Schenectady, New York State.

1865 George Junior's first patent, granted in 1865, was for a rotary steam engine that was manufactured by his father's company but was not very successful.

George Junior then started his own business.

1869 George Junior invented the air-brake for railways; patented in 1872

1871 Shortly after a visit to Europe, George Westinghouse set up the Europe Brake Company[1].

1875 George Westinghouse's company purchased the rights to the patents of the Vacuum Brake company for USA and Canada so that both vacuum and air braking systems could be offered[2]

By 1880, 37,000 sets of the Westinghouse brake apparatus had been supplied to railways around the world[3].

1881 A public company, the Westinghouse Brake Company was registered on 7 November. [4]

1881 George Westinghouse set up Union Switch and Signal Co, consolidating the assets of the Union Electric Signal Company and the Interlocking Switch and Signal Company.

1884 William Stanley and Mr. George Westinghouse formed the Westinghouse Electric Company.

1885 Westinghouse imported a number of Gaulard-Gibbs transformers and a Siemens AC generator to begin experimenting with AC networks in Pittsburgh.

1886 the Westinghouse Electric Company became the Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company, of Pittsburgh

1889 The name of the company was changed to Westinghouse Electric Corporation. The Westinghouse Electric Co Ltd of London was established as an agency for selling and installing Westinghouse products in the UK[5].

1899 Seeing the opportunities in the UK, George Westinghouse formed British Westinghouse as a limited company as a manufacturing subsidiary of the American company[6].

1907 Westinghouse USA went into receivership with the result that executive control of the company was taken away from George Westinghouse, though he remained as President.

1914 Obituary.[7]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Metropolitan-Vickers Electrical Co 1899-1949 by John Dummelow: 1899-1909
  2. The Times, Sep 06, 1876
  3. The Times, 28 June 1912
  4. The Stock Exchange Year Book 1908
  5. Metropolitan-Vickers Electrical Co 1899-1949 by John Dummelow: 1899-1909
  6. [1] Wikipedia
  7. Engineering 1914 Jan-Jun: Index: General Index