31 Facts About George Westinghouse


George Westinghouse's ancestors came from Westphalia in Germany, who first moved to England and then emigrated to the US.


From his youth, George Westinghouse was talented with machinery and business.


At the breakout of the Civil War in 1862, the 15-year-old George Westinghouse enlisted in the New York National Guard and served until his parents urged him to return home.


George Westinghouse lost interest in the curriculum and dropped out in his first term.


George Westinghouse was 19 years old when he created his first invention, a rotary steam engine.


In 1869, at age 22, George Westinghouse invented a railroad braking system using compressed air.


The George Westinghouse system used a compressor on the locomotive, a reservoir and a special valve on each car, and a single pipe running the length of the train which both refilled the reservoirs and controlled the brakes, allowing the engineer to apply and release the brakes simultaneously on all cars.


George Westinghouse pursued many improvements in railway signals.


In 1884, George Westinghouse started developing his own DC domestic lighting system and hired physicist William Stanley to work on it.


George Westinghouse became aware of the new European alternating current systems in 1885 when he read about them in the UK technical journal Engineering.


George Westinghouse saw AC's potential to achieve greater economies of scale as way to build a truly competitive system instead of simply building another barely competitive DC lighting system using patents just different enough to get around the Edison patents.


The George Westinghouse company installed 30 more AC-lighting systems within a year and by the end of 1887 it had 68 alternating current power stations to Edison's 121 DC-based stations.


George Westinghouse had to deal with an AC rival, the Thomson-Houston Electric Company, which had built 22 power stations by the end of 1887 and by 1889 had bought out another competitor, the Brush Electric Company.


The new lenders demanded that George Westinghouse cut back on what looked like excessive spending on acquisition of other companies, research, and patents.


In 1891 George Westinghouse built a hydroelectric AC power plant, the Ames Hydroelectric Generating Plant near Ophir, Colorado.


In 1893, George Westinghouse won the bid to light the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago with alternating current, slightly underbidding General Electric to get the contract.


George Westinghouse lived in a large Victorian frame house, which still stands, but in disrepair.


George Westinghouse felt that reciprocating steam engines were clumsy and inefficient, and wanted to develop some class of "rotating" engine that would be more elegant and efficient.


George Westinghouse bought rights to the Parsons turbine in 1885, improved the Parsons technology, and increased its scale.


In 1898 George Westinghouse demonstrated a 300-kilowatt unit, replacing reciprocating engines in his air-brake factory.


At one time, George Westinghouse began to work on heat pumps that could provide heating and cooling.


George Westinghouse was after a perpetual motion machine, and the British physicist Lord Kelvin, one of George Westinghouse's correspondents, told him that he would be violating the laws of thermodynamics.


George Westinghouse replied that might be the case, but it made no difference.


In 1867, George Westinghouse met and soon married Marguerite Erskine Walker.


George Westinghouse remained a captain of American industry until 1907, when the financial panic of 1907 led to his resignation from control of the George Westinghouse company.


George Westinghouse died on March 12,1914, in New York City at age 67.


George Westinghouse was initially interred in Woodlawn Cemetery, Bronx, NY then removed on December 14,1915.


George Westinghouse had been initially interred in Woodlawn and removed and reinterred at the same time as George.


In 1930, the George Westinghouse Memorial, funded by his employees, was placed in Schenley Park in Pittsburgh.


Also named in his honor, George Westinghouse Bridge is near the site of his Turtle Creek plant.


In 1989, George Westinghouse was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.