Westinghouse Electric Corporation

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Westinghouse Electric Corporation
Fate Dissolved
Successor Westinghouse Electric Company, Westinghouse Licensing Corporation, Viacom
Founded Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S. (January 8, 1886 (1886-01-08))
Founder George Westinghouse
Defunct 1999 (1999)
Headquarters Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania, United States
Area served
Owner Viacom
Subsidiaries CBS
Website www.westinghouse.com

The Westinghouse Electric Corporation was an American manufacturing company. It was founded on January 8, 1886, as Westinghouse Electric Company and later renamed Westinghouse Electric Corporation by its founder George Westinghouse (1846–1914). George Westinghouse had previously founded the Westinghouse Air Brake Company. The corporation purchased the CBS broadcasting company in 1995 and became the original CBS Corporation in 1997.


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, 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 changed its name to Westinghouse Electric Corporation in 1945.

Westinghouse purchased CBS in 1995 and became CBS Corporation in 1997. In 1998, CBS established a brand licensing subsidiary Westinghouse Licensing Corporation (Westinghouse Electric Corporation). In 1997/1998 the Power Generation Business Unit, headquartered in Orlando, Florida, was sold to Siemens AG, of Germany. A year later, CBS sold all of its nuclear power businesses to British Nuclear Fuels Limited (BNFL). Soon after, BNFL gained license rights on the Westinghouse trademarks and they used those to reorganize their acquired assets as Westinghouse Electric Company. That company was sold to Toshiba in 2007.

Financial catastrophe and corporate reinvention[edit]

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.[3]

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 work force 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, Thermoking, and residential security. With little remaining of the company aside from its broadcasting, Westinghouse renamed itself CBS Corporation in 1997.[citation needed]


During the 20th century, Westinghouse engineers and scientists were granted more than 28,000 US government patents, the third most of any company.[4]

Products and sponsorships[edit]

The company pioneered the power generation industry[5] 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 1000 times the original 1901 unit) were supplied by Westinghouse from its factories in Lester, PA, Charlotte, NC 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, MA 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.[3]

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 2000 hp model W21 was installed in 1948 at the Mississippi River Fuel Corp gas compression station in Wilmar, Arkansas.[6] This was the beginning of a 50-year history of Westinghouse industrial and utility gas turbine development,[7] 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, PA, near Philadelphia and the old Lester, PA plant, until it was relocated to Power Generation headquarters in Orlando, FL 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.[8] Much of Westinghouse's higher voltage power equipment was sold to ABB in 1989 and renamed the ABB Power T&D Company.[9]

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, PA.[10]

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, FL.

Timeline of company evolution[edit]

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


  • 1884 – George Westinghouse begins developing a DC electric lighting system
  • 1885 – Westinghouse becomes aware of the new European transformer based alternating current systems when he reads about them in the UK technical journal Engineering[11]
  • 1885 – William Stanley, Jr., working for Westinghouse, develops the first practical AC transformer[12]
  • 1886 – Westinghouse Electric Company founded
  • 1886 – William Stanley, Jr. installs the world's first operational transformer based multiple voltage transmission system, a demonstration lighting system in Great Barrington, Massachusetts
  • 1888 – development of an induction ampere-hour meter for alternating current developed by Oliver B. Shallenberger
  • 1888 – licensing of Nikola Tesla's AC and Induction motor patents (Tesla hired as a consultant for one year but quits after a few months).[13]
  • 1889 – renames itself the Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Company


1900s to 1920s[edit]

1930s and 1940s[edit]

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

1950s to 1970s[edit]

  • 1951 – conducts first live network TV in U.S.[16]
  • 1952 – opens Cathode Ray Tube facility in Horseheads, NY; facility housed three divisions: Cathode Ray Tube, Electronic Tube, and Industrial and Government Tube.
  • 1954 – enters finance as Westinghouse Credit Corporation
  • 1954 – adopts "You Can Be Sure... If It's Westinghouse" as advertising slogan for home appliances
  • 1955 – buys KDKA-TV (then WDTV) and WKYW (originally, and currently WTAM) radio Cleveland.[16]
  • 1955 – Westinghouse J40 engine failure causes all F3H fighters using the engine to be grounded, and all other jets using it to switch to other engines. Westinghouse forced out of aircraft engine business.
Pittsburgh Westinghouse Sign, 1967.
  • 1961 – acquires Thermo King (sold in 1997 to Ingersoll Rand)
  • 1964 – begins Skybus project; beginning of automated mass transit
  • 1965 – buys Marketeer Electronic Vehicles[16]
  • 1966 – founds Cinema Center Films[16]
  • 1966 – starts housing and real estate development divisions[16]
  • 1966 – buys a toy manufacturer[16]
  • 1967 – lights America's first computer-controlled outdoor electric sign[21]
  • 1967 – makes the lowest bid for the BART project[22]
  • 1969 – buys 7-Up bottling[16]
  • 1973 – develops world's first AMLCD displays
  • 1974 – sells well-known home appliance division to White Consolidated Industries which becomes White-Westinghouse
  • 1979 – withdraws from all oil related projects in the Middle East after Iranian Revolution


  • 1981 – acquires both cable television operator TelePrompter (sold 1985), Muzak (sold September 1986) and 50% of Showtime[23] for $576 million.[24]
  • 1982 – acquires robot maker Unimation
  • 1982 – sells street light division to Cooper Lighting
  • 1983 – sells electric lamp division to Philips
  • 1984 – buys Unimation robotics for $105 million.[16]
  • 1986 – buys Los Angeles TV station.[16]
  • 1987 – buys radio stations in Sacramento and Chicago.[16]
  • 1987 – buys electrical equipment, engineering and waste disposal divisions.[16]
  • 1988 – sells elevator/escalator division to Schindler Group, now known as Schindler Elevator Corporation.
  • 1988 – Enters into joint venture with Taiwan Electric to build Electric motors; Taiwan Electric eventually becomes sole owner of business as TECO Motor Company
  • 1988 – spins Industrial and Government Tube Division off as Imaging and Sensing Technologies Corporation.
  • 1988 – closes the East Pittsburgh generator and Lester, PA turbine plants, which had once been the primary Westinghouse manufacturing facilities.
  • 1988 – Bryant Electric subsidiary closed, assets sold to Hubbell in 1991
  • 1988 – Transportation Division, including railroad (locomotive and mass transit) equipment business sold to AEG, later merged into Adtranz 1996 and Bombardier Transportation in 2001[14][25]
  • 1989 – sells transmission and distribution business to Asea Brown Boveri Group (ABB)
  • 1989 – buys Shaw-Walker Furniture and Reff Furniture.[16]
  • 1989 – buys Legacy Broadcasting.[16]

1990s to 2000s[edit]

  • 1990 – buys Knoll International Furniture.
  • 1994 – buys United Technologies' Norden electronic systems.[16]
  • 1994 – Cleveland operations and facilities purchased by Eaton Corporation for $1.6 billion. Cleveland Westinghouse facilities, as well as manufacturing plants converted into other commercial enterprises[15]
  • 199x – separates IT and phone service sales into Westinghouse Communications division
  • 1995 – under the leadership of Michael H. Jordan buys CBS for $5.4 billion ($8.7 billion today)
  • 1996 – buys Infinity Broadcasting for $4.7 billion.[16]
  • 1996 – sells Westinghouse Electronic Systems defense business to Northrop Grumman for $3 billion ($4.7 billion today), becoming Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems
  • 1997 – sells Thermo King division to Ingersoll Rand
  • 1997 – buys American Radio Systems for $2.6 billion, increasing station network to 175.[16]
  • 1997 – sells most non-broadcast operations; renames itself CBS Corporation as of December 1
  • 1998 – sells remaining manufacturing asset, its nuclear energy business, to BNFL which sold it to Toshiba in 2006 which still operates it as Westinghouse Electric Company today
  • 1998 – sells its non-nuclear power generation and energy units to Siemens AG, which operated under the name Siemens Westinghouse until 2003.
  • 1998 – CBS Corporation creates Westinghouse Licensing Corporation (Westinghouse Electric Corporation) subsidiary to manage the Westinghouse brand
  • 1999 – buys Outdoor Systems for $8.7 billion and King World Productions for $2.5 billion.[16]
  • 1999 – CBS acquired by Viacom, marking the end of the original Westinghouse Corporation
  • 2005 – Viacom is split into two companies on December 31, with a new Viacom being spun off of the company, and the old Viacom being renamed CBS Corporation thus reviving Westinghouse's last name prior to sale and reversing the 1999 Viacom-CBS merger.
  • 2006 - BNFL sold its interest in Westinghouse Electric Company to Toshiba for $5.4 billion
  • 2010 – The Westinghouse Electric Company (Toshiba) opened new headquarters in Cranberry Township, Butler County, Pennsylvania where it preserves the industrial legacy of the original Westinghouse Electric Corporation.


  • George Westinghouse, 1886–1909[26]
  • Edwin M. Herr, 1911–1929[27]
  • F.A. Merrick, 1929 – Feb. 1938[28]
  • George H. Bucher, Feb. 1938–1946[29]
  • Gwilym A. Price, 1946–57[30][31]
  • Mark W. Cresap, Jr. 1957–63[32]
  • Don Burnham, 1963–1975[33]
  • Robert Kirby, 1975–1983[34]
  • Douglas Danforth, December 1983 – December 1987[35][36]
  • John Marous, 1988 – June 29, 1990[37]
  • Paul Lego, June 30, 1990 – January 1993[38]
  • Gary Clark, January 1993 – July 1993
  • Michael Jordan July 1993–1997[39]

Overseas subsidiaries[edit]

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[edit]


  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. 1904-05. Retrieved 2013-07-28.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  3. ^ a b "Westinghouse Electric Corporation". Engineering and Technology History Wiki. 
  4. ^ 2009 Westinghouse corporate profile
  5. ^ "Westinghouse Power Generation". RICHES of Central Florida. 1993. 
  6. ^ "Westinghouse W21, Mississippi River Fuel Corp". RICHES of Central Florida. 1948. 
  7. ^ Scalzo. A, et. al. (1994). "Evolution of Heavy Duty Industrial and Utility Combustion Turbines in the US" (PDF). ASME Gas Turbine Division. 
  8. ^ https://www.tecowestinghouse.com/
  9. ^ http://new.abb.com/us/about/abb-in-brief/history
  10. ^ "Bombardier, Pittsburgh Fact Sheet" (PDF). 
  11. ^ Richard Moran, Executioner's Current: Thomas Edison, George Westinghouse, and the Invention of the Electric Chair, Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group – 2007, page 42
  12. ^ "William Stanley – Engineering Hall of Fame". Edison Tech Center. 
  13. ^ John W. Klooster, Icons of Invention: The Makers of the Modern World from Gutenberg to Gates. ABC-CLIO. 30 July 2009. p. 305. Retrieved 10 September 2012. 
  14. ^ a b "Bombardier Fact Sheet: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania" (PDF). Bombardier Inc. 
  15. ^ a b "WESTINGHOUSE ELECTRIC CORP. - The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History". Case Western Reserve University. 
  16. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s "Westinghouse: Chronology". Ketupa.net. Retrieved April 20, 2013. 
  17. ^ Westinghouse Company Enters Wireless Field (1920). Earlyradiohistory.us (1920-10-16). Retrieved on 2013-11-02.
  18. ^ "Westinghouse Electric Corporation". ExplorePaHistory.com. 
  19. ^ Feurer R (2006). Radical Unionism in the Midwest, 1900–1950. University of Illinois Press. 
  20. ^ "Heartland of UE Struggle". UE. September 2002. Retrieved 2008-04-20. 
  21. ^ "Westinghouse Sign". Pittsburgh Press. 16 January 1968. p. 49. 
  22. ^ Frank Hawkins (March 7, 1967). "PAT Rapid Transit System Years Away". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 29 July 2015. 
  23. ^ Ray Gustini (March 24, 2011). "Three Decades of Wall Street's Muzak Fixation". The Atlantic Wire. Retrieved April 20, 2013. 
  24. ^ "Westinghouse Sells Muzak". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. September 9, 1986. Retrieved 29 July 2015. 
  25. ^ "Bombardier in the United States, page 3" (PDF). Bombardier Inc. 
  26. ^ Massey, Steve (March 1, 1998). "Who Killed Westinghouse? - In the beginning". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved April 20, 2013. 
  27. ^ The Milwaukee Journal https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1499&dat=19321225&id=aKhQAAAAIBAJ&sjid=1iEEAAAAIBAJ&pg=6663,7235419. Retrieved 29 July 2015.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  28. ^ "Herr Quits as Westinghouse Head". The Pittsburgh Press. June 26, 1929. Retrieved 29 July 2015. 
  29. ^ "New Westinghouse Head Is Optimistic". The Pittsburgh Press. February 25, 1938. Retrieved 29 July 2015. 
  30. ^ "Gwilym Price, Retired Westinghouse Leader, Dies". The Pittsburgh Press. June 2, 1985. Retrieved 29 July 2015. 
  31. ^ Gwilym A. Price, 89, a high school dropout who became.... Orlando Sentinel (1985-06-04). Retrieved on 2013-08-18.
  32. ^ http://www.marspapers.org/papers/Shirk_2011_contrib.pdf
  33. ^ Massey, Steve (March 1, 1998). "Who Killed Westinghouse? - Chapter 1: Doing Well by Doing Good". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved April 20, 2013. 
  34. ^ Massey, Steve (March 3, 1998). "Who Killed Westinghouse? - Chapter 2: Sue Me, Sue You Blues". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved April 20, 2013. 
  35. ^ Douglas Danforth: Executive Profile & Biography. BusinessWeek. Retrieved on 2013-11-02.
  36. ^ Massey, Steve (March 4, 1998). "Who Killed Westinghouse? - Chapter 3: Money, It's a Hit". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved April 20, 2013. 
  37. ^ Massey, Steve (March 5, 1998). "Who Killed Westinghouse? - Chapter 4: Big Money and Bad Choices". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved April 20, 2013. 
  38. ^ Massey, Steve (March 6, 1998). "Who Killed Westinghouse? - Chapter 5: Coming Apart at the Seams". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved April 20, 2013. 
  39. ^ Massey, Steve (March 7, 1998). "Who Killed Westinghouse? - Chapter 6: Free at Last". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved April 20, 2013. 

External links[edit]