George Westinghouse

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Westinghouse, George,

1846–1914, American inventor and manufacturer, b. Central Bridge, N.Y. In the Civil War he served in the Union army and navy. Among his inventions in the railroad field were a reversible frog, the air brake (1868), and automatic signal devices. The Westinghouse Air Brake Company was organized in 1869 and the Union Switch and Signal Company in 1882. Westinghouse was a pioneer in introducing into the United States the high-voltage alternating current system for transmission of electricity. In 1866 the Westinghouse Electric Company was incorporated. The inventor also patented devices for the transmission of natural gas. Over 400 patents were credited to him in his lifetime.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Westinghouse, George


Born Oct. 6, 1846, in Central Bridge, New York; died Mar. 12, 1914, in New York City. American inventor and industrialist.

In 1869, Westinghouse received a patent in the USA for a railroad train brake which operated by means of compressed air. The Westinghouse brake came to be widely used on the railroads of many countries after 1872, when its operation was automated. Various brakes of a similar type had been advanced even earlier, but only Westinghouse succeeded in quickly arranging for the acceptance of his inventions.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Westinghouse, George

(1846–1914) engineer, inventor, manufacturer; born in Central Bridge, N.Y. After serving in the Union forces during the Civil War, he turned his attention to the development of a railroad braking system, patenting an air brake in 1869 that soon became widely used. He also combined his own inventions and patents he purchased to introduce electrically controlled signal and switching systems for the railroads. He also invented the gas meter and a system of conducting natural gas through pipes safely into homes. He was a pioneer in the development of means to transmit alternating current over distances to provide electric power for domestic and industrial use. He founded the Westinghouse Electric Company in 1886; by the turn of the century, his enterprises employed more than 50,000 workers and were among the most powerful and successful in the U.S.A. By 1907 he had lost some of his power and he retired in 1911, but he continued to experiment with various new devices.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
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