Born in Central Bridge, N.Y., on Oct. 6, 1846, George Westinghouse enlisted in the Union Army at age 17 and served from 1862 to 1863. He then transferred to the Union Navy as an engineer. He was discharged in 1865.
After the war, Westinghouse became involved in developing railroad technology. He invented and patented the air brake in 1869, which became widely used. He also invented the gas meter and a natural gas pipe system for homes. He was awarded more than 400 patents during his lifetime.
He founded the Westinghouse Electric Company in 1886, which became one of the most successful companies in the United States.
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