The WESTINGHOUSE ELECTRIC CORP., established by Geo. Westinghouse in 1886, was an early manufacturer of electrical equipment that evolved into a multipurpose engineering firm. Westinghouse became a manufacturer in Cleveland partly as the result of an 1894 patent-infringement lawsuit against the Cleveland-based Walker Mfg. Co. The company, established in 1883 by machinist John Walker, produced power-transmitting machinery and cable railway networks. When Walker lost the case, court-ordered constraints on the firm's activities led to its sale to Westinghouse for about $1 million in 1898. Westinghouse manufactured aluminum and brass castings at Walker's plant at the foot of Waverly Ave. (W. 58th St.) and the lake shore. During the 1930s it produced a variety of lights, including those used at airports, along highways, and in industry. By 1960 more than 560 workers were employed there and the facility had become headquarters for the Westinghouse Lighting Div. After the operation was closed in 1979, the Lighting Division was relocated to 5901 Breakwater Ave. from 1980-82.

As Westinghouse closed its manufacturing facilities in Cleveland during the post-World War II period, the corporation expanded its sales and service activities, operating branches of sales and engineering, elevator, and repair divisions, as well as sales offices. By the mid-1970s its operations included architectural systems, computer instrumentation sales and services, and construction-industry sales. By 1978 many of these operations were located at 4600 Rockside Rd. In the 1980s, however, the Reagan-era defense build-up brought Westinghouse lucrative government contracts as the Cleveland factories geared toward the production of torpedoes. But by 1993, defense cuts again affected the company as it was forced to lay off 150 workers from its Cleveland division. In 1994 Westinghouse was bought by the EATON CORPORATION for $1.6 billion. Eaton subsequently began converting the Cleveland Westinghouse research and development facilities, as well as the manufacturing plant, into commercially oriented enterprises.

Article Categories