Those of you across the pond are probably more familiar with George Westinghouse than most people over here as he was an entrepreneur and pioneer of the electrical industry in the USA, whose development of the alternating current system eventually prevailed over Edison's direct current system. He also was the inventor of the air brake and had an interest in railway signalling amongst many other things.
This led him to make an alliance with a British signalling company in the late 19th century based in Worcester. This is turn merged with Saxby and Farmer to form the Westinghouse Air Brake and Saxby Signalling Company Ltd in 1920. Several iterations later and Westinghouse was a name dominating Chippenham in the form of several different companies, all with various fingers in the railway industry worldwide and employing thousands of people. Somewhere along the way the link between the American Westinghouse company and its English cousin was severed and they went their separate ways.
Further takeovers and mergers of the various companies from the late 1970s through to the 1990s mean that the name Westinghouse is no more and we today have Invensys Rail instead. However, this name is pretty meaningless to most people in Chippenham and so Westinghouse remains in the collective memory and consciousness. I'm constantly amazed at how such a small place like Chippenham can have such a global presence.
NAH was interviewed for an electronics engineering job at Westinghouse Signals in 1984, just before we married and moved down here. He didn't take that job, but after a couple of dalliances elsewhere joined Westinghouse Brakes instead in 1990. The project he was working on moved to Westinghouse Signals in 1992 and so NAH had a 'free transfer' over there too. He stayed there until three years ago.
I decided a while ago the Westinghouse symbol on Invensys' premises gates on Hawthorn Road was going to be my picture for today's post. However, NAH told me they've long gone: it's shame he didn't rescue them from the rubbish skip when they were thrown out. Instead, I'm showing you one of the ones on the gates of the Westinghouse Sports and Social Club on Marshfield Road. These gates are endangered - as evidenced by their peeling paint - as there are proposals to build new houses on the land. The latest plans have just been rejected by the Town Council.
This is for ABC Wednesday and forms the 23rd of my themed posts about Chippenham.