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Word Count: 510
George Westinghouse was a visionary of technology and business whose ideas transformed the safety and services of the American railroad and electricity industries Born in Central Bridge New York in 1846 Westinghouse moved with his family to nearby Schenectady when he was ten At his fathers machinery shop the young Westinghouse learned to work with steam engines and other machines At the age of fifteen Westinghouse began service with the Union Army which continued through the Civil War 1861-65 Looking back later Westinghouse would claim that his apprenticeship and his military service were the greatest capital with which he developed his various enterprises After the War Westinghouse enrolled at Union College but soon left to rejoin his fathers business Westinghouse began a prolific career of inventing over 300 inventions with a patented rotary steam engine a system for righting derailed railroad cars and a railroad frog a switch that allows a trains wheels to leap across intersecting rails at a junction Westinghouse saw that the railroads were essential to national industrialization He also saw that the railways were insufficiently safe After a few years work he invented and patented the first successful compressed-air brake system 1869 much more effective and efficient than manual brakes The system manufactured by the Westinghouse Air Brake Company the first of sixty companies founded by Westinghouse soon became the industry standard To combat railroad traffic problems Westinghouse created a system of signals and interlocking switches that used a combination of compressed air and electricity 1882 He founded another company Union Switch Signal which marketed his own ideas in combination with inventions licensed from others Westinghouse had invented a special reduction valve that allowed highly pressurized natural gas to be emitted at the point of use in bursts at low pressure Certain that a similar system could be used to deliver electricity Westinghouse worked with an English engineer to develop a transformer that could step
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