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History of Research & Technology

The first Westinghouse research laboratory was housed in an abandoned rubber mill in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. There, in 1886, engineer William Stanley invented a transformer that increased the voltage of AC electricity so it could be transmitted over large distances. Stanley's discovery led to a second laboratory established later that spring in Garrison Alley, Pennsylvania, site of the first Westinghouse plant.

During this time, George Westinghouse recruited Nikola Tesla to work on induction motors specifically for streetcars. The induction motor challenge was also extended to engineer Benjamin Lamme, who later became head of the Westinghouse Engineering Department.

Westinghouse research was scattered throughout East Pittsburgh until 1904, when the company formed a six-man organization that became one of the nation's first industrial research laboratories. In 1906, the Westinghouse Research Division was established under Lamme, and all Westinghouse laboratories were consolidated.

The Research Division began to change in 1916, when the Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company built a new research facility in Forest Hills, Pennsylvania. The shift to a more highly trained technical staff, combined with a World-War-I-driven need for more scientifically oriented studies, influenced the research done at Westinghouse. Space at the facility more than tripled from 1920 to the late 1930s, and with the invention of the first industrial atom smasher, Westinghouse and the nation became a dominant force in nuclear energy.

After World War II, Westinghouse expanded its research in all fields of science. In 1955, having outgrown the Forest Hills location, the Research Laboratory (now 700 strong) moved to new facilities in nearby Churchill. Over the next thirty years, as the Westinghouse Electric Corporation expanded in sales volume and product lines, additional research buildings were added. The renamed Research and Development Center occupied eight major buildings with over one million square feet of laboratory, shop, service, and office space.

In 1989, the name of the R&D Center was changed again, to the Westinghouse Science and Technology Center (STC), to better describe the changing functions of the company. In 2000, it became the George Westinghouse Research and Technology Park. This 145-acre complex with ten office buildings preserves a century of science and engineering. Though the Science and Technology Department of today's Westinghouse Electric Company occupies only part of today's complex, it is still recognized as one of North America's premier research and development laboratories.


 
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