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2425 Liberty Avenue (Westinghouse Air-Brake Company)

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Westinghouse Air-Brake Company
1870–1871. 2401–2425 Liberty Ave., The Strip

This wooden-trussed, brick plant is a striking memorial to George Westinghouse, one of the nation's most important inventors. The legacy of Westinghouse—second in patent acquisition only to his rival Thomas Edison—has long been neglected in his adoptive city. Westinghouse came to Pittsburgh from upstate New York in the 1860s because it offered the industrial expertise, venture capital, and climate of aggressive entrepreneurship in which he could flourish.

Though Westinghouse branched out into switches and signals, electricity, turbines, appliances, natural gas, and even shock absorbers, the manufacture of railroad air-brakes was his first and central concern. It was for this enterprise that he supervised construction of this factory, an amalgam of three structures that eventually reached twenty-five bays in length and covered a full city block. In less than a decade, the plant proved too small for worldwide demand for his product. He then built a larger plant on the North Side in 1881, abandoning it nine years later to create a company town at Wilmerding ( AL59). This Liberty Avenue building now accommodates office spaces.

Writing Credits

Author: 
Lu Donnelly et al.
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Citation

Lu Donnelly et al., "2425 Liberty Avenue (Westinghouse Air-Brake Company)", [Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/PA-01-AL91.

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of PA vol 1

Buildings of Pennsylvania: Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania, Lu Donnelly, H. David Brumble IV, and Franklin Toker. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2010, 104-104.

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