Life of George Westinghouse

Life of George Westinghouse

by Henry G. Prout


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In the last part of the 19th century and the first part of the 20th century, George Westinghouse made pioneering advances in transportation and the manufacture of power, with his work on the air brake, power signaling and switching, the friction draft gear, and the use of alternating current for the transmission and employment of electrical energy. This biography details his work and its impact and examines his involvement in industry. This reprint is identical to the original book published in 1921. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780405047190
Publisher: Ayer Company Publishers, Incorporated
Publication date: 05/28/1977
Series: Technology and Society Ser.
Edition description: REPRINT
Pages: 406

Table of Contents

Birth and birthplace
His brothers
In the Civil War
Inherited qualities
Education in school and shop
Early inventions
Marriage and home
Principal enterprises
Decade of greatest output
The last years
II.The Air Brake21
Some early notions
He turns to the air-brake
Who invented the air-brake?
Creates a new art
First air-braked trains
The automatic brake comes
The Scott model, Franklin Institute
Fundamentals of the automatic brake
Development of the triple valve
Some accessories
The Burlington brake trials
The quickaction triple
The triumph after Burlington
English experiences
The Galton-Westinghouse experiments and some lessons
The education of the users
III.Friction Draft Gear77
A new principle introduced
Genesis of the friction gear
First patent, 1888
First commercial use nine years later
Its various functions
Effects in starting trains
Its comparative importance
IV.A General Sketch of Electric Activities87
Some elementary explanations
Early interest in electric lighting
Early railway work
His interest in alternating current is aroused
Buys the Gaulard and Gibbs patents
The transformer is developed
Westinghouse Electric Company chartered
Opposition to alternating current
Ninety-five per cent of electric energy used now alternating current
The central power-station idea
V.The Induction Motor and Meter121
Tesla's invention
Seven years developing to usefulness
A great chapter in electrical history
Steps in development of the motor
Shallenberger invents a meter
VI.The Rotary Converter130
The economic place of the rotary converter
Its first serious commercial development at East Pittsburgh
Effect on the electric art
VII.The Chicago World's Fair134
Westinghouse takes the lighting contract
And then develops a lamp
And the means of making it
Exhibits alternating-current machinery
A historical moment
VIII.Niagara Falls141
The Cataract Construction Company
An international commission
Decision reached to distribute power by electricity
And to use alternating current
The Telluride plant and its effects
Compressed-air transmission
Studies of frequency
The contract awarded October 1893
Magnitude of the enterprise and some results
Certain local enterprises
IX.Electric Traction159
Early trolley roads
Westinghouse foresaw heavy electrification with alternating current
But had first to enter the street-railway field
Development of direct-current apparatus
State of the art
Slow and difficult growth of alternating-current systems
St. Clair Tunnel
New Haven Railroad
Milwaukee and St. Paul
Load balancing
Some effects of railroad electrification
X.Steam and Gas Engines179
Patents a rotary engine
Designs a reciprocating engine with radial cylinders
And gas engines
The turbine
Patents the single-double-flow turbine
And a reaction-impulse type
The reduction gear
Some by-products
Propeller experiments
Condenser improvements
XI.The Turbo-Generator201
Its industrial importance
Some details
Displaces the engine-type generator
The course of development
Some of the difficulties
XII.Signalling and Interlocking212
What they are and what they do
Westinghouse brought in the use of power
Hydropneumatic systems
The first power interlocking
Slow progress in the United States
Effects of power signalling and interlocking
XIII.Natural Gas224
Westinghouse begins in 1883
Takes out thirty-eight patents
Special dangers in the use of natural gas
The Philadelphia Company
Pittsburgh without smoke
Fuel gas
XIV.Various Interests and Activities233
Nernst lamp
Cooper Hewitt lamp
Multiple-unit control
Car, Air, and Electric Coupler
Board of Patent Control
Air spring
The steel car
XV.European Enterprises262
World-wide plans
British Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company
The underlying idea correct but too early
The Clyde Valley Electrical Power Company
The central-station idea in practice
Making brakes in France
The Italian company
The Russian Brake Company
Ten or a dozen lesser companies
The broad results
XVI.Financial Methods--Reorganization--Equitable-Life Episode273
Westinghouse and the bankers
Did his own financing
Risked his own money
The influence of personality
An idealist
Never speculated
The receiverships of 1907
The reorganization
Equitable Life episode
The trusteeship
XVII.The Personality of George Westinghouse287
Relations with his men
The family spirit
The Amber Club
His ethical influence
An enlightened humanitarian
The Air Brake Company as an example of his policies
Personal characteristics
More than a genius
Some encounters with the laws of nature
Not a sceptic
XVIII.The Meaning of George Westinghouse320
His life was history: an agent of civilization
Transportation and progress
Brakes and signals and transportation
The first four names in the evolution of transportation
The manufacture of power and the New Era
An ethnical epoch
Effect of the alternating current in the New Era

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