Westinghouse Electric Corporation

Westinghouse Electric Company Nick Jr. Paramount Network
Westinghouse Electric Corporation
(First incarnation of CBS Corporation, 1997–1999)
Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Company (1886–1945)
FoundedJanuary 8, 1886 (1886-01-08); 134 years ago in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
FounderGeorge Westinghouse
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S. (until 1999);
New York City (1999–present)
United States
Area served

The first incarnation of Westinghouse Electric Corporation, an American manufacturing company, was founded on January 8, 1886, by George Westinghouse. It was originally named Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Company, and was renamed Westinghouse Electric Corporation in 1945. The company acquired the CBS television network in 1995, and was renamed into the first incarnation of CBS Corporation before being acquired by Viacom in 1999.

As of August 2019, the Westinghouse brand is managed by the Westinghouse Licensing Corporation, a subsidiary of ViacomCBS that became the legal successor to Viacom. The nuclear power business, Westinghouse Electric Company, was spun off from the Westinghouse Electric Corporation in 1999.


George Westinghouse

Westinghouse Electric was founded by George Westinghouse in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1886. The firm became active in developing electric infrastructure throughout the United States. The company's largest factories were located in East Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, and Lester, Pennsylvania[1] and in Hamilton, Ontario, where they made turbines, generators, motors, and switch gear for generation, transmission, and use of electricity.[2] In addition to George Westinghouse, early engineers working for the company included Frank Conrad, Benjamin Garver Lamme, Bertha Lamme (America’s first woman mechanical engineer), Oliver B. Shallenberger, William Stanley, Nikola Tesla, Stephen Timoshenko and Vladimir Zworykin.

Early on, Westinghouse was a rival to Thomas Edison's electric company. In 1892, Edison was merged with Westinghouse's chief AC rival, the Thomson-Houston Electric Company, making an even bigger competitor, General Electric. Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Company changed its name to Westinghouse Electric Corporation in 1945.

Westinghouse purchased CBS Inc. in 1995. Westinghouse Electric Corporation changed its name to and became CBS Corporation in 1997. In 1998, the Power Generation Business Unit, headquartered in Orlando, Florida, was sold to Siemens AG, of Germany. A year later, CBS sold all of its commercial nuclear power businesses to British Nuclear Fuels Limited (BNFL). In connection with that sale, certain rights to use the Westinghouse trademarks were granted to the newly formed BNFL subsidiary, Westinghouse Electric Company. That company was sold to Toshiba in 2006.[3]

Financial catastrophe and corporate reinvention

In 1990, Westinghouse experienced a financial catastrophe when the Corporation lost over one billion dollars due to bad high-risk, high-fee, high-interest loans made by its Westinghouse Credit Corporation lending arm.[4]

In an attempt to revitalize the corporation, the Board of Directors appointed outside management in the form of CEO Michael Jordan, who brought in numerous consultants to help re-engineer the company in order to realize the potential that they saw in the broadcasting industry. Westinghouse reduced the workforce in many of its traditional industrial operations and made further acquisitions in broadcasting to add to its already substantial Group W network, purchasing CBS in 1995. Shortly after, Westinghouse purchased Infinity Broadcasting, TNN, CMT, American Radio Systems, and rights to NFL broadcasting. These investments cost the company over fifteen billion dollars. To recoup its costs, Westinghouse sold many other operations. Siemens purchased non-nuclear power generation, while other firms bought the defense electronics, office furniture company Knoll, Thermo King, its metering and load control division (to ABB), and residential security. With little remaining of the company other than its broadcasting division, Westinghouse renamed itself CBS Corporation in 1997.[citation needed]


During the 20th century, Westinghouse engineers and scientists were granted more than 28,000 U.S. government patents, the third most of any company.[5]

Products and sponsorships

The company pioneered the power generation industry[6] and in the fields of long-distance power transmission and high-voltage alternating-current transmission, unveiling the technology for lighting in Great Barrington, Massachusetts.[citation needed]

The first commercial Westinghouse steam turbine driven generator, a 1,500 kW unit, began operation at Hartford Electric Light Co. in 1901. The machine, nicknamed Mary-Ann, was the first steam turbine generator to be installed by an electric utility to generate electricity in the US. George Westinghouse had based his original steam turbine design on designs licensed from the English inventor Charles Parsons. Today a large proportion of steam turbine generators operating around the world, ranging to units as large as 1,500 MW (or 1,000 times the original 1901 unit) were supplied by Westinghouse from its factories in Lester, Pennsylvania; Charlotte, North Carolina; or Hamilton, Ont. or were built overseas under Westinghouse license. Major Westinghouse licensees or joint venture partners included Mitsubishi Heavy Industries of Japan and Harbin Turbine Co. and Shanghai Electric Co. of China.

Westinghouse boasted 50,000 employees by 1900, and established a formal research and development department in 1906. While the company was expanding, it would experience internal financial difficulties. During the Panic of 1907, the Board of Directors forced George Westinghouse to take a six-month leave of absence. Westinghouse officially retired in 1909 and died several years later in 1914.

Under new leadership, Westinghouse Electric diversified its business activities in electrical technology. It acquired the Copeman Electric Stove Company in 1914 and Pittsburgh High Voltage Insulator Company in 1921. Westinghouse also moved into radio broadcasting by establishing Pittsburgh's KDKA, the first commercial radio station, and WBZ in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1921. Westinghouse expanded into the elevator business, establishing the Westinghouse Elevator Company in 1928. Throughout the decade, diversification engendered considerable growth; sales went from $43 million in 1914 to $216 million in 1929.[4]

Westinghouse produced the first operational American turbojet for the US Navy program in 1943. After many successes, the ill-fated J40 project, started soon after WWII, was abandoned in 1955 and led to Westinghouse exiting the aircraft engine business with closure of the Westinghouse Aviation Gas Turbine Division (Kansas City) in 1960.

During the late 1940s Westinghouse applied its aviation gas turbine technology and experience to develop its first industrial gas turbine. A 2,000–horsepower model W21 was installed in 1948 at the Mississippi River Fuel Corp gas compression station in Wilmar, Arkansas.[7] This was the beginning of a 50-year history of Westinghouse industrial and utility gas turbine development,[8] prior to the sale by Westinghouse of the power generation business to Siemens, AG in 1998. Evolving from the Small Steam and Gas Turbine Division formed in the early 1950s, the Westinghouse Combustion Turbine Systems Division was located in Concordville, Pennsylvania, near Philadelphia and the old Lester, Pennsylvania plant, until it was relocated to Power Generation headquarters in Orlando, Florida in 1987.

As a result of its participation in the US government's military program for nuclear energy applications (e.g. The Nuclear Navy) Westinghouse was instrumental in the development and commercialization of nuclear energy systems for electric power generation. This business currently operates as the Westinghouse Electric Company, and is owned by Toshiba of Japan. Electricite de France (EDF) a major global player in the nuclear power business, was a long-time licensee of the Westinghouse nuclear technology.

Additional major industrial products in the widespread Westinghouse portfolio included electric motors of all sizes, elevators and escalators, controls and lighting. The Large Motor Division, once headquartered in Buffalo, NY, entered a joint venture with Taiwan Electric Co. (TECO) in the 1970s and today operates as TECO-Westinghouse.[9] Much of Westinghouse's higher voltage power equipment was sold to ABB in 1989 and renamed the ABB Power T&D Company.[10]

The Westinghouse Transportation Division (est. 1894) supplied equipment and controls for many North American interurban and streetcar lines, the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), Washington DC METRO (WMATA), New York City Subway (NYCT) equipment from the 1890s elevated era to the R68A in 1988, among many other heavy rail and rail transit systems and built locomotives, often in partnership with Baldwin, Lima-Hamilton as well as supplying electrical and traction equipment for Fairbanks-Morse diesel locomotives. The division designed and built Automated People Movers (APMs) at several major U.S. airports, including Tampa, Dallas-Ft. Worth and Orlando. The Transportation Division was sold to AEG of Germany (1988), which merged into a joint venture of ABB and Daimler Benz named AdTranz in 1996. Ultimately, the unit was acquired by Bombardier of Canada in 2001 and is still headquartered in Pittsburgh.[11]

Westinghouse was also a leader in the design and manufacturing of household electrical products including radios, televisions, and other audio/video equipment, and both small and large electric appliances of all kinds, from hair dryers and electric irons to clothes washers and dryers, refrigerators and air conditioning units. For many years Westinghouse was a familiar household name and favored brand. After more than 50 years, and after playing a strong No. 2 to rival General Electric for most of that time, Westinghouse decided to exit the appliance business in the mid- 1970s. White-Westinghouse was formed when White Consolidated acquired the Westinghouse appliance unit in 1975.

The company is also known for its time capsule contributions during the 1939 New York World's Fair and 1964 New York World's Fair.[citation needed] They also participated in the St. Louis World's Fair in 1904. They sponsored the Westinghouse Auditorium at the fair, where they showed films documenting Westinghouse products and company plants.[2] Westinghouse was one of the original corporate sponsors and exhibitors at Walt Disney World's EPCOT attraction in Orlando, Florida.

Environmental incidents

There have been a number of Westinghouse-related environmental incidents in the US. Below is a short list of these. All of these are chemical pollution incidents; none of them involve nuclear reactors or nuclear pollution.

Timeline of company evolution

1888 Westinghouse brochure advertising their Alternating system
Share of the Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company, issued March 31, 1910



1900s to 1920s

1924 book on protective relays for AC and DC electrical systems by the Company

1930s and 1940s

Close up of Westinghouse logo on historic kitchen stove at John & Mable Ringling Museum, Sarasota

1950s to 1970s

Pittsburgh Westinghouse Sign, 1967.


1990s to 2000s




Overseas subsidiaries

Westinghouse established subsidiary companies in several countries including British Westinghouse and Società Italiana Westinghouse in Vado Ligure, Italy. British Westinghouse became a subsidiary of Metropolitan-Vickers in 1919 and the Italian Westinghouse factory was taken over by Tecnomasio in 1921.

See also


  1. ^ a b History of Tinicum Township (PA) 1643–1993 (PDF). Tinicum Township Historical Society. 1993.
  2. ^ a b "Steam Hammer, Westinghouse Works, 1904". World Digital Library. 1904. Retrieved April 8, 2018.
  4. ^ a b "Westinghouse Electric Corporation". Engineering and Technology History Wiki.
  5. ^ 2009 Westinghouse corporate profile
  6. ^ "Westinghouse Power Generation". RICHES of Central Florida. 1993.
  7. ^ "Westinghouse W21, Mississippi River Fuel Corp". RICHES of Central Florida. 1948.
  8. ^ Scalzo. A; et al. (1994). "Evolution of Heavy-Duty Power Generation and Industrial Combustion Turbines in the United States" (PDF). ASME 1994 International Gas Turbine and Aeroengine Congress and Exposition, Volume 4: Heat Transfer; Electric Power; Industrial and Cogeneration. doi:10.1115/94-GT-488. ISBN 978-0-7918-7886-6.
  9. ^ "TECO-Westinghouse Motor Company, a world leader in manufacturing electric motors and generators, supplying motor controls, and providing engineering services, genuine Westinghouse renewal parts and large motor repairs".
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2017-11-03. Retrieved 2017-10-31.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ "Bombardier, Pittsburgh Fact Sheet" (PDF).
  12. ^ United States Environmental Protection Agency (September 2016). "FIVE-YEAR REVIEW REPORT FOR WESTINGHOUSE ELECTRIC CORP. (SHARON PLANT) SUPERFUND SITE MERCER COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA" (PDF). United States Environmental Protection Agency.
  13. ^ COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA Dept. of Environmental Protection (2017-08-21). "Anglers Warned to Not Eat Fish from Shenango River". PA.Gov.
  14. ^ Pittsburgh Post-Gazette – Nov 12, 1996
  15. ^ "Cleanup of Horseheads Superfund Site". EPA.
  16. ^ "Sunnyvale Superfund Site". EPA.
  17. ^ Richard Moran, Executioner's Current: Thomas Edison, George Westinghouse, and the Invention of the Electric Chair, Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group – 2007, page 42
  18. ^ "William Stanley – Engineering Hall of Fame". Edison Tech Center.
  19. ^ John W. Klooster, Icons of Invention: The Makers of the Modern World from Gutenberg to Gates. ABC-CLIO. 30 July 2009. p. 305. ISBN 9780313347436. Retrieved 10 September 2012.
  20. ^ a b "Bombardier Fact Sheet: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania" (PDF). Bombardier Inc.
  21. ^ a b "WESTINGHOUSE ELECTRIC CORP. - The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History". Case Western Reserve University.
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  26. ^ "Heartland of UE Struggle". UE. September 2002. Retrieved 2008-04-20.
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  29. ^ Frank Hawkins (March 7, 1967). "PAT Rapid Transit System Years Away". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 29 July 2015.
  30. ^ Ray Gustini (March 24, 2011). "Three Decades of Wall Street's Muzak Fixation". The Atlantic Wire. Retrieved April 20, 2013.
  31. ^ "Westinghouse Sells Muzak". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. September 9, 1986. Retrieved 29 July 2015.
  32. ^ Stein, Kenneth J. (July 14, 1986). "Westinghouse/Airships Industries joint venture targets Navy program". Aviation Week & Space Technology: 144, 145, 147, 149.
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  34. ^ Massey, Steve (March 1, 1998). "Who Killed Westinghouse? - In the beginning". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved April 20, 2013.
  35. ^ "Edwin Herr Dies in East". The Milwaukee Journal. December 25, 1932. p. 4.
  36. ^ "Herr Quits as Westinghouse Head". The Pittsburgh Press. June 26, 1929. Retrieved 29 July 2015.
  37. ^ "New Westinghouse Head Is Optimistic". The Pittsburgh Press. February 25, 1938. Retrieved 29 July 2015.
  38. ^ "Gwilym Price, Retired Westinghouse Leader, Dies". The Pittsburgh Press. June 2, 1985. Retrieved 29 July 2015.
  39. ^ Gwilym A. Price, 89, a high school dropout who became.... Orlando Sentinel (1985-06-04). Retrieved on 2013-08-18.
  40. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-12-24. Retrieved 2013-07-26.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
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  42. ^ Massey, Steve (March 3, 1998). "Who Killed Westinghouse? - Chapter 2: Sue Me, Sue You Blues". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved April 20, 2013.
  43. ^ Douglas Danforth: Executive Profile & Biography. BusinessWeek. Retrieved on 2013-11-02.
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  45. ^ Massey, Steve (March 5, 1998). "Who Killed Westinghouse? - Chapter 4: Big Money and Bad Choices". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved April 20, 2013.
  46. ^ Massey, Steve (March 6, 1998). "Who Killed Westinghouse? - Chapter 5: Coming Apart at the Seams". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved April 20, 2013.
  47. ^ Massey, Steve (March 7, 1998). "Who Killed Westinghouse? - Chapter 6: Free at Last". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved April 20, 2013.