The Westinghausen family tree stretches back to that of the ninth century in Westphalia, Germany. Some of the family decided to emigrate to Europe and later settle in the United States. In the nineteenth century, George Westinghouse decided to move all over the former United States and settled in Central Bridge, New York where he had George Westinghouse II. Born into a family of ten (which would become twelve later on) on October 16, 1846, George Westinghouse Jr. (son of George Westinghouse and Emmeline Vedder) was born into an agricultural family. George Jr.’s father moved the family to Schenectady to sell farming tools. After serving the Union Army for three years at the age of fifteen, George II (later to be referred to as just George) attended college for three months (dropping out because he believed that he could learn much more about machinery on his own). During his three-month stay however, George had obtained a patent for a rotary steam engine (which he received in 1865).
George’s inventions kept coming, such as his invention that allowed derailed railroad cars to be placed back onto their tracks. George then married Marguerite Erskine in Brooklyn, New York and had a child, George Westinghouse III. George and his new family moved to Pittsburgh, where he made a deal with a steel company, that had a better capital than his ex-business partner, to make his reversible cast-steel frog for a cheaper cost. His newer inventions then switched to being directly helpful to the train, such as using air-compressed brakes that worked indirectly.
After improving upon this invention for a while, George opened many companies, such as the Westinghouse Air Brake Company and the Union Switch & Signal Company. Both of these companies focused on helping railroads and making sure his inventions worked the way they were suppose to. When George’s property was having a well drilled, something unexpected happened. This well produced a natural supply of gas on accident. George became interested in gas after this discovery and made the Philadelphia Co. Westinghouse, which supplied gas to private houses. Later, George became interested in electricity and its many uses.
Influenced by Thomas Edison’s flaws of his directed current (DC) electricity, George obtained patents for the inventions of alternating current (AC). Hiring Nikola Tesla (a Serbian-American electrical engineer) and William Stanley (an American physicist), George wanted tests run on a “secondary transformer” to make sure it was efficient. After tests to make sure that it was efficient enough, George went into competition with Thomas Edison’s DC electricity by making the Westinghouse Electric Company in 1886. George then started to win many contracts from Edison to provide power, contracts such as Chicago’s World Fair of 1893 or installing hydro-powered generators at Niagara Falls (completed in 1895).
To install hydro-electric harvesters Even though George’s company was built on Edison’s DC faults (such as power plants having to be placed every couple miles apart), George’s company was not without it’s own faults. The Westinghouse Electric Company did employ more than 500,000 people but it had to file for bankruptcy twice and after filing for bankruptcy twice, he stepped down as head honcho. Within four years of stepping down, George began to cut all ties with his electric company, believing he was expending too much on the company to receive an income. Later, on March 2, 1914, was to be discovered dead alongside a blueprint for an electric wheelchair and on June 23 1914, his wife [Marguerite Erskine] died and was buried next to him in the Arlington Cemetery in Washington D.C.
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