George Westinghouse was one of the most important people in the US. His birthday passed recently without much notice. Most people don’t even know who he is anymore. Which is a true shame because his achievements still affect us every day. It’s well known that Westinghouse developed the air brake for railroads and had that been his only achievement he would still be one of the greatest engineers of all time. But his work and the work of his companies went far beyond just the airbrake.
Like many of his contemporaries he didn’t stop at doing one thing, but instead built a series of successful businesses. Westinghouse also built steam engines and air compressors and was at the forefront of the movement to electrify a nation.
Westinghouse’s factories were a marvel in their day. While some of the things they are doing make me cringe, it’s obvious that this was a well run shop. Check out the videos in the following link of the people who worked in his factory. The fact that the movies were mad at all is testament to the forward thinking of Westinghouse and his companies.
George Westinghouse lived his life making things better for everybody else. In his life he was the antithesis of the Goulds and Fisks that plundered the railroads and other industries. Westinghouse was a builder and what he built lasted for a lon tome after his death in 1914, producing the brake systems that made rail transport safer for passenger and employees alike and the generators that wired the nation. It’s a shame that he is barely remembered today.
There are actually very few biographies of Westinghouse and there’s no big set of memorials to his works like Edison has. This biography is fairly good, if a little thin on the ground. It has the advantage of bein available which the older biographies I collected for my railroad electrification project are not.