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WESTINGHOUSE, George (1846-1914)

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WESTINGHOUSE, George (1846-1914), American inventor, engineer, and industrialist. Westinghouse was born in Central Bridge, N.Y., and educated at what is now Union College and the University at Schenectady, N.Y. His first important invention, developed while he was employed in his father's factory in Schenectady, was a so-called railway frog, a device permitting trains to cross from one track to another. He devised his most famous invention, the air brake, about 1868. Although successfully demonstrated in 1868, the air brake did not become standard equipment until after the passage of the Railroad Safety Appliance Act in 1893. Westinghouse invented many other safety devices, especially for automatic railway signaling; developed a system for transporting natural gas; and acquired more than 400 patents, including many for alternating-current machinery. With Charles Steinmetz, he pioneered in the use of alternating-current power in the U.S.

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