Wilmerding and the Westinghouse Air Brake Company (Images of America)


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Brand new passenger cars shipped over the Union and Central Pacific railroads the following month came fitted with the latest Westinghouse Air Brakes. The Golden Spike alone was equal to the Wright Brothers' flight in terms of how it amazed the general public and sparked revolutions in transportation and commerce. The there's George Westinghouse the electric systems entrepreneur.

We can thank him and his technicians and lawyers, like it or not for securing many patents on extremely strong and fast electrical motors so that fantastic wonders like high-rise "skyscrapers" fitted with elevators powered by Westinghouse cable-winding motors!

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Westinghouse motors also powered a wide array of electric streetcars, locomotives and simpler small things like electric cooling fans and bedside alarm clocks. How about we all join hands and summon the spirits of James Burke "Connections" and maybe even ol' George Westinghouse? When George Westinghouse wanted to relocate his factories to a new, larger site in the mids, he purchased land in the area of a new Pennsylvania Railroad "flagstop" that had already been named "Wilmerding" for Joanna Wilmerding Bruce Negley, the wife of one of the original landowners I believe her mother's maiden name was Wilmerding.

I doubt whether much thought was given to how it sounded, provided it sounded distinctive. Westinghouse Air Brake has not "morphed into something called Wabtec". The company's headquarters is still located in Wilmerding, although some of the manufacturing has been moved to other sites in the USA, not overseas. Wikmerding is still a "bustling little place", and a very pretty one; it has not changed hugely from the way it is shown in the photo, and visitors are welcomed at the "Castle", where they can visit the Westinghouse Valley Museum, and get a guided tour of the building also.

Check www. We would be remiss not to take note of the early beginnings of the "traveling American carnival" as seen in the photo center. The traveling carnival as we know it was but 12 years young in when there were 46 recorded traveling carnivals. These early shows traveled mostly by rail in unmarked box cars.

Visible by the railroad tracks is the merry-go-round or "flying jenny" which was the heart of all carnivals at the time. The side curtains are yet down but one set of wooden horses can be seen under the one rolled flap. There are at least visible four show tents set up on the street following the outline of the town square.

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Strates Shows is the only remaining railroad carnival today with all others traveling by truck. Wilmerding is rather nice, as well, but it doesn't activate the pleasure centers in quite the same fashion. As seen in the video, pretty girls worked for Westinghouse, and doing mechanical work. I thought they would be doing clerical chores. The soundtrack is very imaginative. I hear the squeal of Westinghouse air brakes and steel wheels on rails. I Love this picture - makes me wish I could go back and wander the streets exploring! Such a pretty looking city, even if it's an industrial one!

Thanks to Jano and Dave for recognizing that America is hardly bereft of good manufacturing jobs today, in spite of the rough economy! We should indeed celebrate those hard working blue collar workers. And shame on GMH for calling Wilmerding an "ugly" name! Without doing any research I am sure the town was named in great honor of a founder or "first father" of the town. And I'm sure those who carry the family name Wilmerding today are quite proud of it and are pleased to know there is a town named "for them".

Wilmerding sounds like it was probably was carried across the pond with European immigrants It reminds me of the many Germanic names I heard as a boy visiting Cincinnati with my family. So three cheers for Wilmerding!

Westinghouse air brake company

Thanks, Dave. I appreciate your succinct response regarding the manufacturing status and standard of living in the U. The woeful lack of understanding of basic economics and industrial history is evident in so many conversations I have, and not exclusively with those younger than my 50 years.

Wilmerding and the Westinghouse Air Brake Company PA Images of America

When commenting on this site, I am more inclined to attempts at humor but I am also tremendously moved by the images of industrial settings that affirm how far we have come in terms of working conditions, yet the celebrate ingenuity, creativity, drive and work ethic of our forebears. I wish more people would look around to see that kind of vision and vigor today, and stop damning industry, whether soft or heavy, as a whole for the sins of a relative few. Now we know where the previouse Westinghouse Air Brake Co. The viaduct that the Pittsburgh Railways streetcar line once ran on.

It kind of looks like a company town with all the townhouse style housing. And by-the-way I like the sound of "Wilmerding" after pouring poring through so many ancient air brake catalogs, parts lists and manuals. View Larger Map. Do you have any photos of the front side of the George Westinghouse Castle that big pile with the clock tower?

Love that this photo was taken during the height of activity.


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When the US had men and women working hard at good paying manufacturing jobs, people could afford to live like decent human beings. Today, the US hardly builds anything anymore, ergo poverty, ignorance, crime, dissolution of the family, and eventually the disintegration of society. All so a relative few offshore robber barons can get fabulously rich draining the accumulated wealth of the US. Very nice. The United States is still the world's largest manufacturer. China, with four times the population, is a close second. The factory in our photo still exists, btw.

The average person in the United States today enjoys living conditions vastly better than those of most people in Is there a current - "today"- view of this same vantage point? The detail these old cameras captured is quite amazing. As noted in the previous post, the factory is still there. This made sense since these men and women depended entirely on the company.

Wilmerding and the Westinghouse Air Brake Company, Pennsylvania (Images of America Series)

When the economy struggled and profits in the company declined, workers then had to alter their standard of living. During this time, in the early s, the Westinghouse Company built houses on a tract of land that it had purchased, in turn, it then sold those homes to its workers cheaply.

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The company also offered educational and cultural activities, usually run through the local Y. A, to obtain better workers. To insure a certain income to employees who might have been unfit for work because of illness or injury, an ordered sum would be paid to the beneficiary. Any employee under 50 was eligible for membership after a physical examination.


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  4. The members contributed according to the class which they belonged, with their class being determined by the amount of money they made per month. The Westinghouse Air Brake company was still producing products up until around the year , under several different managers over the years. Cart 0. Menu Cart 0. Shop By. Share 0 Tweet Pin it 0.

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