George T. (George Thornton) Fleming.

History of Pittsburgh and environs, from prehistoric days to the beginning of the American revolution .. (Volume 3) online

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University, of which he is also a trustee, conferred the same degree upon
him ; while from Lincoln Memorial University he received the degree of
Doctor of Laws in 191 7, and from New York University the degree of
Doctor of Commercial Science in 1918.

In addition to his chairmanship of the boards of the Bethlehem Steel
Company, the Bethlehem Steel Corporation, and the Bethlehem Ship-
building Corporation, Mr. Schwab is a director of many large corpora-
tions He is a member of numerous clubs, a director in the American
Iron and Steel Institute, and a member of the Iron and Steel Institute of
London, England.

Besides his residence in Bethlehem and his Riverside Drive home in



New York, Mr. Schwab has one of the most beautiful summer homes in
the country at Loretto, Pa., where he lived as a boy.

No review of Mr. Schwab's activities could be even fairly descriptive
without at least a brief allusion to some of the other things that, aside
from administrator and executive, add interest to his career and person-
ality. Few know that he is a finished musician, quite capable himself of
wielding the leader's baton, and that upon occasion he has done so in
the most accomplished manner. Occasionally, too, he is induced to
contribute a short article on some current topic of interest. And a care-
ful resume of his characteristics brings out what at first does not attract
the attention of the most careful observer. This is his wonderful mas-
tery of himself. Amidst scenes and surroundings well calculated to
shake the strongest in time of stress and strain, he moves calm, serene,

GEORGE WESTINGHOUSE— As long as Pittsburgh's industrial
power shall endure and men benefit through the fruits of scientific re-
search, the name of George Westinghouse shall stand as one of the
greatest scientists, inventors, and industrialists in American history.
The future can bring no progress, science can produce no wonders, man
can attain no high estate, that will darken the brilliance of his achieve-
ments in the latter part of the nineteenth and the early years of the
twentieth centuries.

Mr. Westinghouse was born Oct. 6, 1846, at Central Bridge, Scho-
harie county, N. Y., son of George and Emeline (Vedder) Westing-
house. His paternal ancestors came from Germany and settled in Massa-
chusetts prior to the Revolution. Through his mother he was descended
from a Dutch-English ancestry, claiming kindred with many who have
won distinction along the lines of art, education and religious work. In
1856 the family removed to Schenectady, N. Y., where the father, who
was an inventor, established the Schenectady Agricultural Works.

George Westinghouse, son of George Westinghouse above named,
received his earlier and preparatory education in the public and high
schools of Schenectad}^ and at Union College, receiving the degree of
Ph. D. in i8go. During his educational period he spent much of his
leisure time in his father's machine shop. The opportunity which he
thus enjoyed of familiarizing himself with all kinds of machine work, he
afterwards regarded as of great importance in laying the foundation of
his subsequent success. At the age of fifteen he invented and con-
structed a rotary engine, and he had also gained the knowledge necessary
for passing at an early age the examination for the position of assistant
engineer in the United States Navy. In June, 1863, he enlisted in the
Twelfth Regiment, New York National Guard, for thirty days service in
the Civil War. In July, at the expiration of his term, he was discharged,
and in November of the same year he reenlisted for three years in the
Sixteenth Regiment, New York Cavalry, being chosen corporal. In
November, 1864, he was honorably discharged, and on December 14,
following was appointed third assistant engineer in the United States


Navy, and reported for duty on the "Muscoota." June 4, 1865, he was
transferred to the "Stars and Stripes," and on June 28, of the same year,
was detached and ordered to the Potomac flotilla. At the end of the
war Mr. Westinghouse, being desirous of continuing his interrupted
studies, resisted solicitations to remain in the navy and tendered his resig-
nation, receiving an honorable discharge Aug. i, 1865.

On returning home he entered Union College, remaining until the
close of his sophomore year. During his military and naval career the
inherited impulse toward experiment had not lain dormant, but had
moved him to invent a multiple cylinder engine, and while a college stu-
dent he found it extremely difificult to resist the tendency which was
ever so marked a trait in his character. Accordingly, Mr. Westinghouse,
after conference with President Hickok, of Union College, and by his
advice and appreciative suggestion, discontinued his classical studies
and sought in active life a wider field for his inventive genius.

In 1865 he invented a device for replacing railroad cars upon the track,
and this device, made of cast steel, was manufactured by the Bessemer
Steel Works at Troy, N. Y., One day while on his way thither, a delay
caused by a collision between two freight trains suggested to Mr. West-
inghouse the idea that a brake under the control of the engineer might
have prevented the accident. This was the germinal thought of the
great invention with which his name will ever be associated — the air-
brake. Among the various devices which occurred to him was that of a
brake actuated by the cars closing upon each other. No experiments were
made, but the car-replacer business was developed. In Chicago, in 1866,
he met a Mr. Ambler, inventor of a continuous chain-brake, having a chain
running the entire length of the train, with a windlass on the engine that
could be operated by pressing a wheel against the flange of the driving
wheel of the locomotive, thus tightening the chain and causing the brake-
blocks to operate upon the wheels of the car. Upon showing some inter-
est in the brake question, Mr. Westinghouse was informed by Mr. x\mbler
that it would be no use working upon the subject, as the Ambler patent
covered the only practical way of operating brakes. This, however, did
not deter Mr. Westinghouse from further investigation and he gave him-
self more earnestly than ever to studying the necessities of adequate pro-
tection against accident. He met with an account of the operation of the
drilling apparatus in the Mount Cenis tunnel, at a distance of three
thousand feet from the air compressor. The use of compressed air in
drilling suggested to him its possible employment for the operation of
the brake, compressed air being free from the objections to the use of
steam. Having made drawings of the air pump, brake cylinders and
valves, he explained them to the superintendent of the New York Cen-
tral railroad, who declined to try the apparatus. After filing a caveat
he made the same request for a trial to the officers of the Erie railroad,
and with the same result.

In 1867 he established steel works in Schenectady for the manufacture
of the car-replacer and reversible steel railroad frogs, but lack of capital
proved an obstacle. As a result of correspondence, the inventor was in-


vited to Pittsburgh, where he made a contract with the Pittsburgh Steel
Works for the manufacture of steel frogs, he himself acting as agent for
their introduction. After repeated failures to interest railroad companies
to take the right to the use of the brake and to assume the expense of a
trial, in 1868 he met Ralph Baggaley, whom he succeeded in interesting
in a description of the invention, and who, on being offered a one-fifth
interest if he would bear the expense of apparatus sufficient for one train,
accepted the proposition. After it was constructed, permission was given
by the superintendent of the "Pan Handle" railroad to apply it to an
engine and four cars on the accommodation train running between Pitts-
burgh and Steubenville. This train was fitted in the latter part of 1868,
and the first application of the brake prevented collision with a wagon
on the track The first patent was issued April 13, 1869, and the West-
inghouse Air Brake Company was formed July 20 of the same year. The
first orders for apparatus were from the Michigan Central Railroad Com-
pany and the Chicago & Northwestern Railway Company. The inven-
tion was perfected and works for its manufacture were completed by
1870. Constant attention was given to details, so that the brake under-
went many changes. The policy of issuing no rights or licenses, but con-
fining the manufacture to one locality and keeping it under one man-
agement, has been of the greatest possible use to the railroads in securing
uniformity in brake apparatus throughout the United States and adjacent

In 1871 Mr. Westinghouse went abroad to introduce the air-brake in
England — an undertaking which proved no easy task, inasmuch as the
trains in Europe had hand-brakes upon only what were termed "brake-
vans," there being no brakes upon the other vehicles. He was thus re-
quired, between 1871 and 1882, to spend in all seven years in Europe, and
his inventive ability was severely taxed to meet new requirements of rail-
road practice. He had in the meanwhile invented the automatic feature
of the brake, which overcame other imperfections in the first form, and re-
moved the danger from the parting of trains on steep grades. In 1886 he
invented the "quick action" brake, the improvement being made in what
is known as the "triple valve." By this improved valve it became practic-
able to apply all the brakes on a train of fifty freight cars in two seconds.

The patents taken out by Mr. Westinghouse on the air-brake are in-
teresting in their variety, covering as they do every detail from the
front end of the engine to the rear of the last car, and including stop-
cocks, hose couplings, valves, packings, and many forms of "equivalents"
of valves and other devices. Infringers of these patents have been in-
variably enjoined by the courts, which have declared the inventions to
be of great value, pioneer in character, and therefore entitled to very
broad construction. Scientists united in regarding the air-brake in its
completed form as one of the greatest inventions of the nineteenth cen-
tury, and its usefulness is attested by its almost universal adoption by
the railroads of the world. The claimants of the honor have been many,
but the decisions of the courts in upholding the Westinghouse patents
destroy such claims, and the additional inventions, increasing the ef-


ficiency of the brake, are sufficient to establish the superiority of Mr.

In 1883 Mr. Westinghouse became interested in the operation of
railway signals and switches by compressed air, and developed by the
Union Switch and Signal Company. To operate the signals, compressed
air is used as the power and electricity as the agent, to operate minute
valves for setting the compressed air in motion. Under the patents ob-
tained for this invention, the Union Switch and Signal Company has
introduced in Boston, Jersey City, Philadelphia, Chicago, St. Louis, and
many other places, what is termed the "Pneumatic Interlocking Switch
and Signal Apparatus," whereby all the signals and switches are operated
from a given point, using compressed air as the motive power into oper-
ation. Through this invention the movement of signals and switches
no longer requires considerable physical force, the operations being con-
trolled by tiny levers which a child can move. These plants are mag-
nificent illustrations of what can be accomplished by a proper combina-
tion of steam, air and electricity.

In 1883 Mr. Westinghouse turned his attention to electric lighting,
and began the manufacture of lamps and electric lighting apparatus at
the works of the Union Switch and Signal Company. In 1885 he pur-
chased the Gaulard and Gibbs patents for the distribution of electricity
by means of alternating currents, and in 1886 formed the Westinghouse
Electric Company, engaging actively in the manufacture and sale of all
kinds of electrical machinery. In 1889-90 this company absorbed the
United States Electric Lighting Company and the Consolidated Electric
Light Company. In 1891 all these companies were reorganized into
the Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company, which has
built very extensive works at East Pittsburgh, and employs about four-
teen thousand operatives. In the construction of these buildings, as in
all the others under his management and control, architects have, by
direction of Mr. Westinghouse, borne in mind the health and comfort
of those to be employed in them, and every proper provision has been
made for their well being. About this time Mr. Westinghouse became
interested also in electric lighting companies in New York, Philadelphia,
Baltimore and Pittsburgh, and gave special attention to the problem of
the generation and distribution of electricity for commercial purposes.
In 1881 the Westinghouse Machine Company was formed to manufac-
ture engines designed by H. H. Westinghouse, brother of the inventor.

In all the enterprises in which he was interested, Mr. Westinghouse's
dynamic personality was a most potent influence. He gathered around
him a group of engineers and scientists — men who dealt in an intangible
thing, inventive power. In 1884, natural gas having been brought from
Murraysville to Pittsburgh, Mr. Westinghouse suggested that drilling
might develop natural gas in the Iron City, and accordingly he drilled a
well on the grounds of his own residence, a venture which resulted in
the production of gas in enormous quantities. An ordinance was enacted
by the city authorizing him to lay pipes under the streets, and he pur-
chased the charter of what is known as the Philadelphia Company, having


power to carry on the natural gas business, no law relating especially to
this business being then in existence.

In 1S92 the Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company was
given the contract for the illumination of the World's Fair at Chicago,
and shortly thereafter the incandescent electric lamps manufactured by
it were declared by the courts to be an infringement of patents owned
by a competitor, consequently Mr. Westinghouse was obliged to im-
mediately design and manufacture in large quantities an incandescent
lamp which would not infringe upon them. This he did by making what
was called the "stopper lamp," the use of which enabled the Westing-
house Company to fulfill its contract. This meant not only designing
a lamp which would not infringe upon existing patents, but also design-
ing and manufacturing the machinery for its production, all within a
limited time. That Mr. Westinghouse succeeded and enabled his com-
pany to carry out its contract obligations, is one of the most remarkable
tours de force in his career.

From 1899 to 1906 Mr. Westinghouse again spent considerable time
in Europe, where he founded companies in England and France for the
manufacture of electrical apparatus under patents owned by his American
companies. Then came the financial panic of 1907 which involved three
important Westinghouse companies — the Westinghouse Electric and
Manufacturing Company, the Westinghouse Machine Company, and the
Security Investment Company. Leaving largely to his associates the
readjustment of the affairs of the two latter companies, which were prac-
tically his personal property, and disregarding his possible personal
losses, Mr. Westinghouse concentrated all his energies on the arrange-
ment of the finances of the Electric Company. So successful was he in
this that in December, 1908, but little more than a year after the panic,
the company's obligations were discharged, and it was placed upon a
firm financial basis with cash assets of over seventeen million dollars.

Mr. Westinghouse's later work included the development of gas
engines of large power, and steam turbines for land and marine use. In
cooperation with Rear-Admiral G. W. Melville, U. S. N., he was the first
to suggest the use of reduction gearing in connection with high speed
turbines, and by the invention of what is known as a "floating frame" for
gearing of this kind he inaugurated a new epoch in marine engineering.
One of the latest but not least of the products of Mr. Westinghouse's
genius as applied to mechanics was his air spring for automobiles and
motor trucks, the first form of which was brought to his attention by its
inventors while it was still in an experimental state. Mr. Westinghouse
quickly recognized the possibility of such a device, and after several
years of development and testing he brought out the air spring, which,
because of the great increase in comfort and safety which it affords to
motorists, promises to become as well known as the air-brake. In this
air spring he accomplished the remarkable feat in mechanics of retaining
air at a pressure of seventy or eighty pounds in a cylinder the piston of
which is subjected to incessant reciprocating motion for hours at a time.

In addition to his mechanical genius, Mr. Westinghouse possessed the


most thorough familiarity with financial questions. He was connected
with companies manufacturing the Westinghouse air-brake in the United
States, Canada, England, France, Germany, Russia, Italy, and Australia,
and founded companies for the manufacture of electrical apparatus in
almost as many countries, in all employing about fifty thousand work-
men. Among other companies in which he had large or controlling
interest were : The Westinghouse Air Spring Company ; the Cooper
Hewitt Electric Company ; the Pittsburgh Meter Company ; the West-
inghouse Friction Draft-Gear Company ; the Westinghouse Traction
Brake Company ; the East Pittsburgh Improvement Company ; the
Nernst Lamp Company ; the Union Switch and Signal Company ; the
Traction and Power Securities Company, Ltd., of London, England, and
the Clyde Valley Electrical Power Company, Ltd.

In 1874 the Franklin Institute of the State of Pennsylvania awarded
him the Scott premium and medal for his improvements in air-brakes ; he
received the decorations of the Legion of Honor, the Royal Crown of
Italy, and the Order of Leopold of Belgium. In 1890 Union College con-
ferred upon him the honorary degree of Doctor of Philosophy; in 1896
he was the second recipient of the John Fritz medal; in the same year
he received the degree of Doctor of Engineering from the Koenigliche
Technische Hochschule, Berlin; and in 1912 he was awarded the Edison
gold medal for his achievements in the introduction and development of
the alternating current system of distributing electrical energy. He was
an honorary member and past president of the American Society of Me-
chanical Engineers ; an honorary member of the American Association
for the Advancement of Science ; an honorary member of the National
Electric Light Association ; the Royal Institute of Great Britain ;
Academy of Political and Social Science in the City of New York;
American Academy of Political and Social Science, Philadelphia; Frank-
lin Institute; American Association for the Conservation of Vision;
American Institute of Electrical Engineers ; American Institute of Mining
Engineers ; American Society of Civil Engineers ; American Society of
Automobile Engineers ; American Society of Naval Engineers (asso-
ciate) ; American Protective Tariff League ; American Museum of Natural
History ; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York ; New York Botanical
Garden; Pilgrims of the United States; Japan Society of New York;
Pan-American Society of the United States ; and numerous social clubs.

Mr. Westinghouse married, August 8, 1867, in Brooklyn, N. Y.,
Marguerite Erskine Walker, and they became the parents of one son,
George Westinghouse (3rd). Mr. Westinghouse died March 12, 1914.

priest and author, was born at Manorville, Armstrong county. Pa., Feb.
I, 1842. He is descended from Christopher Lambing, who emigrated to
America from Alsace in the vicinity of Strasburg in 1749, and settled
in Bucks county, Pa., where he died about 1817, at the age of ninety-nine
years. Some of his family passed to Adams county, where his son
Matthew married and settled in New Oxford, and where Michael A., the

^^^^ .,::^:^.




father of Rev. Andrew A. Lambing, was born Oct. 10, 1806. The family
came west to Armstrong county in 1823. Here Michael A. Lambing
married Anne Shields. Dec. i, 1837. She was descended from Thomas
Shields, who emigrated from County Donegal, Ireland, about 1760, and
came to Amberson's valley, Franklin county, Pa., but his grandson,
William Shields, came to Armstrong county in 1798, and made his home
near Kittanning, where his daughter Anne was born, July 4, 1814.
Michael A. Lambing was the father of five sons and four daughters, of
whom Andrew Arnold was the third son and child. Both parents were
remarkable through life for their tender and consistent piety, and for the
care they bestowed on the education and training of their children.
Three of their sons fought in the Civil War, one of them losing his life
and another becoming disabled; two of their sons are priests, and a
daughter a Sister of Charity.

Trained in the school of rigid poverty, Andrew A. Lambing began
work on a farm before he was eight years old, and a few years later found
employment in a fire-brick yard, where he spent nearly six years, with
about four month's schooling in each winter, and two years in an oil
refinery, a considerable part of which time he worked from three o'clock
in the afternoon to six the next morning, being at the same time foreman
of the works. During this time he managed to steal a few hours, as
opportunity permitted, to devote to study and useful reading, for reading
was the passion of his life. At the age of twenty-one he entered St.
Michael's Preparatory and Theological Seminary, Pittsburgh, where he
made his course in the higher studies, frequently rising at three o'clock
in the morning to continue his course, and being nearly all that time
prefect of the students. He was ordained to the priesthood in the semi-
nary chapel by Bishop Domenac, of Pittsburgh, Aug. 4, 1869. He was
then sent to St. Francis College, Loretto, Pa., as professor, with the
additional obligation of assisting the pastor of the village church on
Sundays with the exception of one Sunday in each month, when he
ministered to the little congregation of Williamsburg, Blair county,
about forty miles distant. On the following January he was appointed
pastor of St. Patrick's Church, Cameron Bottom, Indiana county, Pa.,
where he remained until the end of April, when he was named pastor of
St. Mary's Church, Kittanning, with its numerous out-missions. While
there he built a little church a few miles west of the Allegheny river for
the accommodation of the families residing there, and in the middle of
January, 1873, he was sent to Freeport, with the additional charge of the
congregation at Natrona, six miles distant. But at the end of six months
he was appointed chaplain of St. Paul's Orphan Asylum, Pittsburgh, with
a view of bettering his financial condition. This, however, was rendered
impossible by the financial crisis of the fall of the same year, and he was
named pastor of the Church of St. Mary of Mercy, at the point in the
same city, Jan. 7, 1874. Here he placed the schools in charge of the
Sisters of Mercy, bought and fitted up a non-Catholic church for the
congregation, and placed an altar in it dedicated to "Our Lady of the
Assumption at the Beautiful River" as a memorial of the one that stood
in the Chapel of Fort Duquesne during the French occupation in the


middle of the previous century, and also built a residence. But the
encroachments of the railroads began to drive the people out in such
numbers that he was transferred to St. James' Church, Wilkinsburg, an
eastern suburb of the city, Oct. 15, 1885. The congregation was then
small, numbering about one hundred and sixty families, with a little
frame church, but it soon began to increase rapidly. His first care was
to open a school, which he placed in charge of the Sisters of Charity, and
in the summer of 1888 he enlarged the church, which, however, was
occupied only three months when it was entirely destroyed by fire.
Nothing daunted, he immediately undertook the present combination

Online LibraryGeorge T. (George Thornton) FlemingHistory of Pittsburgh and environs, from prehistoric days to the beginning of the American revolution .. (Volume 3) → online text (page 42 of 55)