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Westinghouse Electric Corporation

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Westinghouse Electric Corporation

This article is about the defunct Westinghouse Electric Corporation founded in 1886, renamed CBS Corporation in 1997, and purchased by Viacom in 1999. For the present-day industrial company, see Westinghouse Electric Company. For other uses of the term "Westinghouse" including modern incarnations and recent licensing deals, see Westinghouse (disambiguation).

Westinghouse Electric Corporation
Fate Dissolved
Successor(s) Westinghouse Electric Company, Westinghouse Licensing Corporation, Viacom
Founded Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S. (January 8, 1886 (1886-01-08))
Founder(s) George Westinghouse
Defunct 1999 (1999)
Headquarters Monroeville, Pennsylvania, United States
Area served worldwide
Subsidiaries CBS

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 George Westinghouse. George Westinghouse had previously founded the Westinghouse Air Brake Company. The company purchased CBS in 1995 and became CBS Corporation in 1997.


Westinghouse Electric was founded by George Westinghouse in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1886. They became active in helping to bring electricity throughout the United States. The companies largest factories were located in East Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where they made turbines and coils for electricity.[1] In addition to George Westinghouse, engineers working for the company included William Stanley, Nikola Tesla, Vladimir Zworykin, Oliver B. Shallenberger, Benjamin Garver Lamme and his sister Bertha Lamme. The company was historically the rival to General Electric which was founded by George Westinghouse's arch-rival, Thomas Edison (see War of the Currents).

Products and sponsorships

The company pioneered long-distance power transmission and high-voltage alternating-current transmission, unveiling the technology for lighting in Great Barrington, Massachusetts.

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. 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 Westinhouse products and company plants.[1]

Westinghouse produced the first operational American turbojet, but fumbled on the disastrous J40 project. It not only severely hampered a generation of U.S. Navy jets when the project had to be abandoned, but led to leaving the aircraft engine business in the 1950s.

Timeline of company evolution


Starting years
  • 1886 – Founded Westinghouse Electric Company
  • 1889 – renames itself the Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Company


Alternating currents promoter

1900s to 1920s

Growth and change
  • 1901 – acquires Bryant Electric Company of Bridgeport, Connecticut, which continues operation as a subsidiary
  • 1904 - with Baldwin, markets Baldwin-Westinghouse electric locomotives and A.C. electrification of railroads, particularly to the New Haven Railroad
  • 1909 – introduces continuous-filament tungsten light bulb; ousts George Westinghouse as chairman during bankruptcy reorganization
  • 1914 – acquires Copeman Electric Stove Company in Flint, Michigan from Lloyd Groff Copeman, moves it to Mansfield, Ohio and enters the home appliance market (sold in 1974 to White Consolidated Industries)
  • 1915 – New England Westinghouse Company opens for business. First product is Mosin–Nagant rifles for the Russian Czar's army. Within two years, the Bolsheviks overthrow the Russian Provisional Government and cancel a previous order of over 1 million rifles. Facing bankruptcy, Westinghouse is rescued by the American Government when it purchases the rifles for use by the military.
  • 1916 – share of British Westinghouse purchased by a British holding company, which becomes Metropolitan-Vickers
  • 1919 - 8XE Pittsburgh experimental station goes on the air.
  • 1919 - Creates RCA with GE, AT&T and United Fruit, buys the American division of Marconi.[3]
  • 1920 - Acquires International Radio Telegraph Company (formerly known as the National Electric Signaling Company)[4][5][6]
  • 1921 – acquires the Pittsburg High Voltage Insulator Company
  • 1920s – enters the broadcasting industry, with stations like KDKA in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and WBZ in Massachusetts
  • 1926 - In partnership with GE and RCA founds NBC Broadcasting.[3]

1930s and 1940s

  • 1932 – announces Ignitron mercury-arc rectifier
  • 1934 – opens its Home of Tomorrow in Mansfield, Ohio, to demonstrate Westinghouse home appliances
  • 1935 – completes longest continuous electric steel annealing furnace in the world at Ford Motor Company, Dearborn, Michigan
  • 1930s – funds invention of the magnetohydrodynamic generator
  • 1937 – builds first "industrial atom smasher", a 5 MeV Van de Graaff electrostatic nuclear accelerator[7]
  • 1940s – enters aviation with airborne radar (defense electronics sold 1996), jet engine propulsion, and ground based airport lighting, gets defense contract from U.S. military to produce plastic helmet liners for the M1 Helmet
  • 1941 – after years of resistance to the unionization efforts of its employees and to the National Labor Relations Act,[8] signs a national labor agreement with the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America after a United States Supreme Court decision that upheld the Act.[9]
  • 1943 – purchased the lamp division of Kentucky-Radio Corporation (Ken-Rad) in Owensboro, Kentucky from Roy Burlew in exchange for 35,000 shares of Westinghouse stock valued at $1.6 million ($21.8 million today)
  • 1945 – renames itself the Westinghouse Electric Corporation, and makes first automatic elevator.
  • Westinghouse Aviation Gas Turbine Division (AGT) started in 1945

1950s to 1970s

  • 1951 - conducts first live network TV in U.S.[3]
  • 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
  • 1954 – leaves railroad (locomotive and mass transit) propulsion equipment business
  • 1955 - buys KDKA-TV (then WDTV) and KYW radio Cleveland.[3]
  • 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.
  • 1961 – acquires Thermo King (sold in 1997 to Ingersoll Rand)
  • 1964 – begins Skybus project; beginning of automated mass transit
  • 1964 - makes the lowest bid for the BART project[10]
  • 1965 - buys Marketeer Electronic Vehicles[3]
  • 1966 - founds Cinema Center Films[3]
  • 1966 - starts housing and real estate development divisions[3]
  • 1966 - buys a toy manufacturer[3]
  • 1969 - buys 7-Up bottling[3]
  • 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[11] for $576 million.[12]
  • 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.[3]
  • 1986 - buys Los Angeles TV station.[3]
  • 1987 - buys radio stations in Sacramento and Chicago.[3]
  • 1987 - buys electrical equipment, engineering and waste disposal divisions.[3]
  • 1988 – sells elevator/escalator division to Schindler Group
  • 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 plant, which had once been the primary Westinghouse manufacturing facility
  • 1989 – sells transmission and distribution business to Asea Brown Boveri Group (ABB)
  • 1989 - buys Shaw-Walker Furniture and Reff Furniture.[3]
  • 1989 - buys Legacy Broadcasting.[3]

1990s to 2000s

  • 1990 - buys Knoll International Furniture.
  • 1994 - buys United Technologies' Norden electronic systems.[3]
  • 1994 – sells electric power distribution and control business unit to Eaton Corporation for $1 billion ($1.6 billion today)
  • 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 ($8.4 billion today)
  • 1996 – buys Infinity Broadcasting for $4.7 billion.[3]
  • 1996 – sells Westinghouse Electronic Systems defense business to Northrop Grumman for $3 billion ($4.5 billion today), becoming Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems
  • 1997 – sells most non-broadcast operations; renames itself CBS Corporation
  • 1997 - buys American Radio Systems for $2.6 billion, increasing station network to 175.[3]
  • 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 – CBS Corporation creates a new subsidiary called Westinghouse Electric Corporation to manage the Westinghouse brand
  • 1999 - buys Outdoor Systems for $8.7 billion and King World Productions for $2.5 billion.[3]
  • 1999 – sells itself to Viacom, Inc.
  • 2006 – Viacom is split into two companies, 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.
  • 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 Corp.


  • George Westinghouse 1886-1909 [13]
  • Gwilym A. Price 1946-57 [14][15]
  • Mark W. Cresap, Jr. 1957-63[16]
  • Don Burnham 1963-1975 [17]
  • Robert Kirby 1975-1983 [18]
  • Douglas Danforth December 1983-December 1987 [19][20]
  • John Marous 1988-June 29, 1990 [21]
  • Paul Lego June 30, 1990-January 1993 [22]
  • Gary Clark January 1993-July 1993
  • Michael Jordan July 1993-1998 [23]
Pittsburgh portal

See also


External links

  • Timeline of Westinghouse historical events
  • "Who Killed Westinghouse?" – 1997 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article detailing Westinghouse's history and break-up
  • The Westinghouse Legacy Pittsburgh Technology Council
  • Assembling a Generator, Westinghouse Works, 1904
  • Hagley Museum and Library
  • (for the Golden Jubilee)


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