George Westinghouse’s birthday was actually yesterday – so like a best friend that had to work on the birthday of another best friend, I send a HAPPY BIRTHDAY wish to George Westinghouse, the father of alternating current and a pioneer of electrical systems as we know most of them in the United States!
Hey George Westinghouse – Happy Birthday, man! (October 6, 1846—March 12, 1914)
That is a crazy mustache, brother!
George Westinghouse was a man with many, many inventions, patents, and other great stuff that contributed to the way we see electricity. Some great for society, a few that were not so great for life, period. George had his hands in everything from steam engine work to train brakes to electricity generators to power distribution. In the great “War of Currents,” George Westinghouse and Thomas Edison punched it out for many years over a great number of projects – but it is Westinghouse’s method of alternating current we used in the end.
Westinghouse had a TON of companies – at one point in 1904 he had nine manufacturing companies across the world with 50,000 workers and a net of around $120 million. One thing that isn’t highly published about Westinghouse is that while he was a shrewd dude when it came to business, he established lots of worker-oriented practices in his businesses, like a form of retirement pension, working hour limits, higher salaries, workplace safety, and training courses.
Some of George Westinghouse’s achievments:
- alternating current, which really irked Thomas Edison
- air brake systems for locomotives, which was a really good thing, as train operators were doing brakes by hand, and per car
- the electric chair (unfortunately, and in a “whose is bigger” competition with Edison)
- the Generator
- power distribution to Buffalo, NY via hydroelectric power from Niagra Falls
- taking care of workers in his factories
- the first alternating current locomotive, which spawned subways and that type of public transit
Happy Belated Birthday, Georgie! We’re sorry you’re dead, but we all have to go sometime, and you made a positive mark on our way of living!
Here’s a clip from the movie about George Westinghouse’s life and achievements, Westinghouse:
Some images of George Westinghouse’s work –
A rotor for a Westinghouse Turbine:
An early diagram of Westinghouse’s system for alternating current:
One of the Westinghouse Generators in place at the Chat Falls Power Station: