Grace's Guide To British Industrial History

Registered UK Charity (No. 115342)

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 150,662 pages of information and 235,203 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,919 pages of information and 233,587 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Westinghouse Brake Co

From Graces Guide
1878. Exhibited at the 1878 Paris Exhibition.
1885. Stand at the 1885 Inventions Exhibition.
January 1888. Westinghouse Brake Co.
March 1888. A brake for freight trains.
December 1906.
August 1911.
October 1912. Cross Oil Engine.
October 1912. Two-cylinder Cross Engine.
November 1912.
September 1913.
1914. 250 Kw Generator.
1914. 18 Kw Generator.
1914. Direct current motor.
May 1917.
January 1918.

Makers of automatic braking system for railways, of London


1869 The Westinghouse Air Brake Company was established in the USA

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

1872 The Westinghouse Continuous Brake Co. was established.

1872 The Westinghouse air-brake was used by the London and North Western Railway between Euston Square and St Albans[2].

1873 The Westinghouse automatic vacuum brake was patented[3]

1875 Responding to the interest in vacuum brakes, Westinghouse also developed a system for working brakes by vacuum, emphasising the importance of a continuous braking system between all of the vehicles in a train[4]

1875 Tests of the various braking systems were conducted on the Midland Railway using a specially equipped train under the supervision of Mr Edward Woods CE; the various brakes were supported by different railway companies[5]:

  • Clarke and Webb's brake, entered by the LNWR
  • Smith's Vacuum Brake entered by the GNR
  • Westinghouse (air) brake, entered by the Midland Railway
  • Westinghouse vacuum brake, entered by the London and Brighton Railway
  • Steel's air brake, entered by the Caledonian Railway
  • Clarke's chain brake, entered by the North London Railway
  • Barker's hydraulic brake
  • Clarke's hydraulic brake
  • Also Fay's brake was included even though this was not a fully continuous braking system.

Most of these systems were continuous brakes (which acted on brakes throughout the train) but several were not fail-safe[6]. The Westinghouse automatic (air-pressure) brake was judged to be the most efficient[7]

1876 Moved works to Kings Cross.

1876 The North British Railway organised a series of trials between Westinghouse's automatic air-brake and Smith's vacuum brake supplied by the Vacuum Co[8] which demonstrated the advantages of the air-brake.

1878 George Westinghouse of the Westinghouse Continuous Brake Co wrote a letter in The Engineer describing the usage of his continuous brake on various European railways and proposed that the question of the efficiency of the various brake systems available could best be settled by running trains fitted with the different systems side by side on parallel lines, something he offered to facilitate.

By 1880, 37,000 sets of Westinghouse apparatus had been supplied to railways around the world[9].

Public Company

1881 Public company. The Westinghouse Brake Co was registered on 7 November. [10]

1894 Antwerp Exhibition. Train braking systems. (Westinghouse Brake Co). [11]

1894 Antwerp Exhibition. Awarded Grand Prix Diploma for Railway Plant. (Westinghouse Brake Co). [12].

1899 The Westinghouse Brake Co in conjunction with Messrs McKenzie and Holland was the first to introduce power signalling into Great Britain with the installation at Bishopsgate Street station on the Great Eastern Railway[13].

1907 Separate company formed to carry on the power signalling business: McKenzie, Holland and Westinghouse Power Signal Co[14] which equipped the whole of the underground railways of London with power operated automatic signalling.

1907 Morse chain drives were manufactured by the Westinghouse Brake Co at their works in Kings Cross, London[15]

By 1910, 3 million sets of Westinghouse brake apparatus had been supplied to railways around the world[16].

1913-1917 For a list of the models and prices of Marine Motors see the 1917 Red Book under the Westinghouse-Cross name.

1920 Recognising the interdependence of effective braking and signalling in train safety, Westinghouse Brake Company acquired certain assets of the Consolidated Signal Co[17]. By these means, Westinghouse Brake secured controlling interests in the signal manufacturing concerns of[18]:

The name of the company was changed to Westinghouse Brake and Saxby Signal Co.


See Westinghouse Brake Co: Engines

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Metropolitan-Vickers Electrical Co 1899-1949 by John Dummelow: 1899-1909
  2. The Times, 24 October 1872
  3. The Engineer 1878/06/14
  4. The Times, Mar 01, 1875
  5. The Times, Jun 08, 1875
  6. The Times Nov 24, 1876
  7. The Times, Jun 29, 1875
  8. The Times, 26 December 1876
  9. The Times, 28 June 1912
  10. The Stock Exchange Year Book 1908
  11. The Engineer of 1st June 1894 p469
  12. The Engineer of 2nd November 1894 p387
  13. The Times, 15 August 1921
  14. The Times, 15 August 1921
  15. The Times, Oct 23, 1907
  16. The Times, 28 June 1912
  17. The Times, 8 November 1920
  18. The Times, 9 November 1920