Innovation Heritage | Westinghouse
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Westinghouse - Innovation you can be sure of Westinghouse - Innovation you can be sure of

Since 1886, Westinghouse has brought the best to life.

You can see it in the products we make. The power we create. The people we help.
Today, our legacy lives on with technology that is transforming the human experience,
from smart appliances for the home to energy solutions that are cleanly
and safely powering us into the next generation.

Explore our history to discover how Westinghouse has been at work in our world. 

1846

George Westinghouse born in Central Bridge, New York.

Photo of George Westinghouse's birthplace household.
1865

George Westinghouse patents the rotary steam engine.

Illustration of man using rotary steam engine.
1869

Westinghouse patents the air brake, revolutionizing railroad safety.

Photo of train using air brake.
1869

Westinghouse Air Brake Company is founded.

Photo of factory and industrial area.
1871

Westinghouse Air Brake Company implements half-day Saturdays, a big step toward the five-day work week.

Photo of Westinghouse Air Brake staff.
1873

Westinghouse invented the automatic air brake by utilizing a triple valve system that equipped each car with its own air cylinder.

Blueprints of automatic air brake.
1881

Westinghouse founds Union Switch and Signal Company to develop closed-track circuits and interlocking systems for railroads.

Union Switch and Signal Company written in script. General office and works in Swissvale, PA.
1886

Westinghouse Electric Company is founded.

Photo of Westinghouse Electric Company factory building.
1888

Nikola Tesla receives a patent for the first alternating current motor and comes to work for Westinghouse Electric Company.

Portrait of Nikola Tesla
1891

Westinghouse built the world’s first industrial AC system, Ames Hydroelectric Generating Plant.

Photo of industrial AC system, at the Ames Hydroelectric Generating Plant.
1893

Westinghouse beats Thomas Edison for the contract to light the Chicago World’s Fair with AC power and wins the “War of the Currents.”

Photo of 1893 World's Fair.
1896

Installed hydropower AC generators at Adams Power Plant, Niagara Falls which supplied power to Buffalo, New York

Photo of Adams Power Plant, Niagara Falls.
1901

First commercial Westinghouse steam turbine driven generator, 1,500 kW unit nicknamed the Mary-Ann, Hartford Electric Light Co.

Photo of steam turbine driven generator.
1905

Westinghouse’s first main-line AC powered locomotive produced for New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad. Mode:l NH EP1 Supplied voltage: 11 kV, 25 Hz AC, 600 V DC & 636 V AC.

Photo of main-line AC powered locomotive.
1914

Westinghouse acquires Copeman Electric Stove Company and enters the home appliance market.

Westinghouse Electric Ranges
1914

George Westinghouse dies, leaving a legacy that includes 361 patents and the founding of 60 companies.

Portrait of George Westinghouse.
1920

Westinghouse makes history with the first commercial radio broadcast in the country. Radio station KDKA begins operations.

KDKA Office Building.
1921

Westinghouse introduces the first factory-built radio receiver.

Factory built radio.
1923

Westinghouse pioneers the first international shortwave radio broadcast.

Historical sign from Forest Hills, PA. On this site in 1923, Westinghouse opened a special radio facility to experiment with long-distance transmissions. Led by Frank Conrad, engineers here demonstrated the vital role of high-frequency short waves in sending broadcasts around the world.
1930

55,000 Westinghouse workers honor George Westinghouse by raising funds to build a memorial and garden in Pittsburgh’s Schenley Park.

Photo of Westinghouse Memorial in Pittsburgh, PA.
1933

The world’s fastest elevators are built for New York’s Rockefeller Center.

Constructions of New York’s Rockefeller Center.
1937

Westinghouse Electric constructs the first atom smasher to explore the potential of nuclear energy as a practical power source.

Westinghouse Atom Smasher lab site.
1939

Westinghouse makes an impression at the New York World’s Fair with its Hall of Power and Elektro, the walking, talking robot.

Elektro, the walking, talking robot with robot dog.
1940s

Westinghouse supports the war effort on many fronts, including the creation of the famous “We Can Do It” poster.

We Can Do It! World War 2 poster.
1941

Westinghouse begins producing power at Grand Coulee Dam.

Photo of Grand Coulee Dam.
1947

First all-weather airport approach lighting installed at Idlewild International Airport, New York.

Photo of airport runway.
1948

First industrial 2000 HP, W21 gas turbine installed at the Mississippi River Fuel Corp in Wilmar, Arkansas

Photo of gas turbine installed at the Mississippi River Fuel Corp in Wilmar, Arkansas.
1950s

Westinghouse markets its appliance line with the Freedom Fair advertising campaign.

Westinghouse Vintage Ad.
1954

The USS Nautilus, the world’s first nuclear submarine, was launched with a reactor built by Westinghouse.

Photo of USS Nautilus, the world’s first nuclear submarine.
1960

Paul Rand designs the Westinghouse logo.

Neon sign of Westinghouse Circle W logo.
1969

Westinghouse cameras capture the first moonwalk for viewers back on earth.

Photo of astronaut on the moon.
1977

Westinghouse introduces the first airborne surveillance radar system.

Photo of airplane with airborne surveillance radar system.