George Westinghouse

Who Is George Westinghouse?

Many people are not as familiar with George Westinghouse as they are other historical figures. However, Westinghouse was an important American entrepreneur and inventor. In fact, with his company, The Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company, he helped other like-minded businessmen succeed. For example, he gained rights to Nikola Tesla’s patent for alternating current and won the race against Edison. In total, Westinghouse directed more than 60 companies to market, including his and others’ inventions.


Where It Began

Born on October 6, 1846, in Central Bridge, New York, Westinghouse gained initial experience by working with is Father in agricultural machinery. Later in his life, he gained a leadership position as assistant engineer for the Navy. In 1865, Westinghouse developed his first official patent on a rotary steam engine. Of all his inventions, one of the most notable was the air brake, developed in April 1869. This revolutionized train safety as it had been done manually prior to Westinghouse’s invention- causing frequent accidents.

Entrepreneurial Impact

By the turn of the century, the Westinghouse companies were worth $120 million and employed 50,000 workers. Westinghouse had a huge historical impact on the power and transportation industries including the railroad, steam engine, and electricity.