Four Giants from Pittsburgh
To some, but not many, Pittsburgh served as the home base for
These people changed the world. Let us see how they did it.
George Washington (1732 - 1799) was not born in Pittsburgh.
He was born in Virginia while America was under British rule. However,
he became a military man who could later lead the American Independence War.
How did he become a military genius?
As a colonel of the British army, he participated in the battle of Pittsburgh. Before the American independence, British and French colonialists staged Seven Years' War (1756-1763) in the American continent.
It was French colonialists who set up a military post at the point where the two rivers merge. The military base was called Fort Duquesne.
In order to control the American continent, it was essential for the British colonialists to take control of this transportation center. They sent a large unit of British troops, with two British generals, from Virginia to take over this place. They eventually won the battle, and the French troops were withdrawn to their home base in Quebec (now in Canada). The place then was renamed to Fort Pitt, after Earl William Pitt who was the British prime minister at that time. The Fort Pitt became the starting point of the city called Pittsburgh.
Ft. Pitt seen from Mt. Washington,
Mt. Washington seen from Ft. Pitt.
Washington's own river crossing operation in on December 25-26,
1776. He learned how to cross rivers
during the Fort Pitt battles.
- George Washington was a colonel of the British army who fought in this
battle. It was his opportunity to train himself as a military and political
leader to carry out a much more important mission in later years.
- As a colonel, he was able to see how British generals could make stupid
decisions. Also, as a colonel, he was able to see how difficult is is
for captains to lead their soldiers to the battle fields.
- There were several river-crossing operations during this battle. He learned
what to do and what not to do in crossing the rivers. Washington used this
lesson when he and his troops
crossed the Delaware River in December of 1776 during the Revolutionary War.
- Unlike other British army officers, Washington was born and raised in
America. Thus, he was given the duty of talking native Americans
in that area. Americans say British troops won the battle only because
Washington was able to turn the public opinion of those native Americans
against French occupiers.
- As a colonel, he was able to see how British generals could make stupid decisions. Also, as a colonel, he was able to see how difficult is is for captains to lead their soldiers to the battle fields.
- After the battle, the place was names as Pittsburgh after Earl William Pitt.
Americans could have later changed the name into one of their heros, but did
not. However, the high ground south of the Monongalla River is named after
Washington. It is called Mount Washington. The top of this mountain is
the ideal place to take photos of Pittsburgh. Let us see some pictures.
- Mount Washington seen from from
- Fort Pitt Bridge connecting the Fort Pitt Park (with a fountain) to Mount Washington.
- Mount Washington seen from from Pittsburgh's downtown.
- In 1768 (before the Independence), Americans set up a town called
Washington in this area (about 50 km southwest of Pittsburgh).
The city's name has not been changed.
- However, there is a bigger city carrying the same name. You all know
what city I am talking about. I am fortunate enough to come to the
the Washington are in 1962, and I stayed here since then. Thus owe you
some photos of this great place.
- Washington page. Comprehensive
- Mount Vernon was Washington's
residence and is now a museum dedicated to his personal life. It is
about 15 km south of the White House. Ever since I cam to the United
States in 1954, I hear America's influence is declining, the ticket
line is constantly become longer at the Mt. Vernon Museum.
- Univ. of Maryland is about 20 mk
north of the White house.
- Physics based on the Washington
Monument. This monument is the most prominent structure in this
area, and its image is familiar to all the people of the world.
Yes, you will be tempted to compose a poem when you see it, but
I compose a physics.
- Washington page. Comprehensive Washington page.
|Click on the figures to expand them.|
Andrew Mellon (1855-1937) was born in Pittsburgh. His father was a banker.
He thus became a banker. He served as the secretary of the treasury (finance minister)
for 12 years after the end of World War I from 1921 to 1932. He served three
Republican presidents of the United States, namely
Herbert Hoover. He
is thus the father of American capitalism. Why is not respected? The reason is
very simple. The U. S. economy started its depression during his final years in
office. Was it his fault? I am not competent enough to make judgments on this
issue, but it appears that he had some good ideas which did not work.
- The government needed more money from the income tax. Mellon's idea was to
reduce the tax rate. Very strange! How can you increase the revenue by collecting
Mellon saw that the reduced tax rate will stimulate the economy, and the people will make more money leading to the increase in revenue. Indeed, the business people can make more money, and thus more tax revenue. Brilliant idea.
- In this way, however, rich people became richer and poor people became poorer,
causing social problems. This is still one of the most fundamental problems for
- In order to cure this problem, Mellon raised the tax rate for the rich. This
became the cause of the Great Depression during the 1930s.
- In 1960, John F. Kennedy used Mellon's wisdom of tax cut to attract
political support from business people. These days, under the highly
regulated economy, it seems to work.
National Gallery of Art in Washington.
- The government needed more money from the income tax. Mellon's idea was to reduce the tax rate. Very strange! How can you increase the revenue by collecting less taxes?
- Andrew Mellon was a rich man to start with. There used to be the Mellon
National Bank in Pittsburgh set up by his father. Indeed, in September of
1954, I opened my first bank account in this bank in the United States.
- It is not unusual to collect valuable art items. Mellon had enough art
collection to start an art museum, called the
National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. This museum is one of the
largest in the world.
Paul Mellon and
his East Wing of NGA.
- Paul Mellon was his son.
Paul was also very rich and was a great art collector. Like his father, he
donated to the National Gallery to add the East Wing of the original gallery.
This new building has a huge auditorium, where rare documentary films are
For instance, during the Hitler years in Germany, there was a legendary symphony conductor named Wilhelm Furtwangler. I saw a film about him in this new building. How many of you can recognize his name.
During World War II, while he was conducting Beethoven's Symphony No. 5, the Berlin was bombed. The audience sat unmoved, and german engineers were cutting the world's first stereophonic record.
Yet, people do not want to talk about him because he is regarded as a Nazi collaborator. in one way, Furtwangler was the Werner Heisenberg of music.
Mellon Institute (top), and
Heinz Chapel of the Univ. of
Pittsburgh in front of the Institute.
- It is not unusual to collect valuable art items. Mellon had enough art collection to start an art museum, called the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. This museum is one of the largest in the world.
- Andrew Mellon was also a science lover. With his money, he set up the
Mellon Institute for Scientific Research near the campus of the Univ. of
- This Institute produced many many industrial products dear to
our daily life. The hot-dog skin was invented by Mellon Institute.
Sausage skins and hot-dog skins are different. This difference changed
- From 1955 to 1960,
Matthew Ridgway served as the Chairman of the Board. Who was
Ridgway? He was an American general who replaced Douglas MacArthur
when he was dismissed in 1951 during the Korean war, and replaced
Dwight Eisenhower when he left his NATO post in 1953 to run for the
president of the United States. If Ridgway could replace both MacArthur and
Eisenhower, he was an exceptional American.
- In 1967, Mellon Institute and the Carnegie Institute of Technology became merged, and they became Carnegie Mellon University. The original building of the Institute houses the University's center for superconducting and robotics.
- This Institute produced many many industrial products dear to our daily life. The hot-dog skin was invented by Mellon Institute. Sausage skins and hot-dog skins are different. This difference changed our lifestyle.
- Click here for my old webpage dedicated to Mellon.
Westinghouse (1846 - 1914) was born and raised at a small town New York State,
but his name cannot be separated from Pittsburgh. In 1867, when he became 22 years old, he got married.
The coupled bought a house in Pittsburgh.
- When he was 22 years old, Westinghouse invented the compressed air brake. He
first attempted to sell his idea to Cornelius Vanderbilt, who was the
railroad czar in the United States, but he was thrown out of his office.
Vanderbilt thought Westinghouse was completely crazy. How can the wind
stop the train.
After several failed attempts, Westinghouse was allowed to carry out his experiment by an obscure railroad company in Pittsburgh. He installed his air brake system to a four-car train. He was able to stop the train right before a girl who was crossing the track. Without his brake, the train could have run her over.
Yes, this was the beginning of the age of the compressed air brake. Before Westinghouse, the brake operator had to be on each car and had to crank the manual brake to stop. I do not know how the stop signal was transmitted, but the stopping process must have been hopelessly slow.
- With this invention, he became a capitalist. He then invested his capital
to Nikoka Tesla's idea of converting DC into AC for long-distance transmission
of electric power. I wrote an article about this DC-to-AC revolution many
years ago. Click here for the story.
- With the money he earned from this conversion, Westinghouse in 1885 set
Westinghouse Electric Company. This company, together with General
Electric Company, produced many electrical instrument. Nikola Tesla kept working
for the company as the house wizards. Let us look at what this company produced
good things for humans.
- It is easy to generate AC electric power from rotating machines, but
operating electric motors was another matter. It was Nikola Tesla who
solved this problem by inventing the induction motor. Tesla's
induction motor decisively established AC's superiority over DC.
This was another industrial revolution!
- Yes, the strength of AC is to enable us to distribute the electric
power to far-away places. This is only a theory. You need a capitalist
to make this idea usable to the people. The Westinghouse Company thus
played the leading role in establishing the power grid system in the
United States. Farmers can process their products using powers from
electric motors. Revolution indeed!
- The engineers of the company picked up the wireless
communication system developed by
Marconi and Sarnoff. While
Sarnoff was mainly interested in improving sound quality of wireless
system, Westinghouse got the idea of spreading news using the
wireless system. A strange idea at that time (1916 - 1920). The company
set up the first radio broadcasting station in Pittsburgh. This is a
photo of the transmitter built by the Westinghouse engineers.
The call sign for this radio station was and still is KDKA. It is now a very prominent TV station in Pittsburgh. The station's headquarters is in downtown Pittsburgh, and I was there in 2003 to have a photo with Marconi's bust in the main lobby.
- The Westinghouse Company played also the pioneering role in nuclear power generation. The engine for the world's first nuclear submarine was built by this company.
Town of Wilmerding (nr. Pittsburgh) where Westinghouse build his first factory for compressed air brakes (top). Westinghouse Fountain (near CMU) his employees built to thank him.
- It is easy to generate AC electric power from rotating machines, but operating electric motors was another matter. It was Nikola Tesla who solved this problem by inventing the induction motor. Tesla's induction motor decisively established AC's superiority over DC. This was another industrial revolution!
- George Westinghouse was a compassionate person, and the air brake
company he established served as a model for all industrial
companies in the United States.
- Westinghouse made Saturday a half-holiday for all his employees.
- He established infirmaries with medical doctors at all of his factories.
- He also initiated a pension system for life-time employees.
In order to express their gratitude to George Westinghouse, the ex-employees of the Westinghouse air brake company built a fountain named after him in 1930, sixteen years after his death. The fountain is located near the campus of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. I was an undergraduate student at CMU from 1954 to 1958, and I used to go there often for rest, relaxation, and for speculations.
Click here for my webpage dedicated to the Westinghouse Fountain.
- Westinghouse made Saturday a half-holiday for all his employees.
- On the business side, his scope was not restricted to the U.S. territory.
This was an exceptional quality among isolationist Americans at his
time. He developed a series of car models and manufactured in France.
There are Westinghouse cars in museums.
Among his friends outside the United States was Czar Nicholas II of Russia. He was of course interested in expanding his business to Russia. The Czar needed one million additional infantry rifles to equip his army during World War I. Westinghouse decided to supply those rifles and made an arrangement with Springfield Rifle Company in Massachusetts. The rifles were delivered in 1915. This was his gift to the Czar, as well as a business investment, but he was not able to foresee the Bolshevik revolution in 1917.
The Russian and Soviet armies used Mosin-Nagant rifles from 1891 until the Kalashnikov model was introduced in 1947. They produced many more during World War II. The Mosin-Nagant was the longest-serving rifle in the world history, and is familiar to many people. You will be surprised to hear that I know how to to operate this machine.
Andrew Carnegie (1835 - 1919) was born in the small town called
Dunfermline about 20 minute train ride from Edinburgh, Scotland.
His father was a respected weaver, and his mother was an artistic shoe maker. However, after the industrial revolution, their skills could not bring enough income to the family. His family thus moved to the American continent in 1848. Andrew was 13 years old. They settled down at a run-down house in Pittsburgh.
It is well known that Andrew Carnegie transformed a small town of Pittsburgh to the world's biggest steel producing city in the world. It was so while I was there four years from 1954 to 1958.
By 1900, he became the richest man in the world, and he did many good things with his money. For instance, he built numerous libraries in the world. In 1900, contributed two million dollars for the creation of the Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh.
- His contribution to Pittsburgh is far greater than initiating steel industry
there. He made the foundation for the present-day high-tech city with top brains.
First all, his steel industry needed top brains to produce high quality products.
- In 1987,
Charles Hall came to Pittsburgh with a new idea: Aluminium! Needless to say,
Pittsburgh was the only place with industrial resources for him to build an aluminium
factory. The company called
ALCOA (Aluminium Company of America) started in Pittsburgh, and its operational
base is still there. Can you think of airplanes without aluminium?
- Westinghouse had to have his air brake factory in Pittsburgh, because he needed
steel to produce them.
- Westinghouse then invited Tesla and made a DC-to-AC revolution. Einstein's
family had a profitable electric appliance company in Munich (Germany).
Their machines were all based on DC. The AC revolution put their company
out of business, and his family had to migrate to Italy.
- The Westinghouse Electric Company kept attracting brains. This process
became more extensive when the company ventured into nuclear power-generation.
During this process, those engineers needed computational skills.
IBM noted this trend, and the company invested heavily in the research programs at Carnegie Mellon University.
- Pittsburgh these days is one of the top high-tech cities in the world. This all started by Andrew Carnegie.
Charles Hall (to), and Pittsburgh as
the aluminium capital of the world.
Lunar rover developed by CMU Lab.
- In 1987, Charles Hall came to Pittsburgh with a new idea: Aluminium! Needless to say, Pittsburgh was the only place with industrial resources for him to build an aluminium factory. The company called ALCOA (Aluminium Company of America) started in Pittsburgh, and its operational base is still there. Can you think of airplanes without aluminium?
- In 2013, I was fortunate enough to visit his birth place in Scotland. The
place is called Dunfermline.
As soon as I came out from
the train station, I was greeted by a local lady. She knew I was coming
to visit Carnegie's birth place. She told me how to go there. Let us see
some photos taken at his birth house.
- The house in which was Andrew was born. His parents owned only the left half of this house, and I am standing at their door.
- Andrew used to sleep with his parents on this bed when he was a baby.
- His mother was a skilled shoe maker.
- His father was a skilled weaver, but he became jobless after the industrial revolution. The journey to the United States was torturous, and the family settled down in this run-down house near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Carnegie's birth house in Dunfermline near Edinburgh. His parents owned only the left half of this house.
- Next to his birth house is
a museum called "Andrew Carnegie Birthplace Museum." I took many photos
inside this museum building.
- Portrait of his wife. She donated
this building as is said on
the entrance wall. Her name was Louise Whitehead Carnegie.
- Carnegie resting at his resort house called
When I was an undergraduate student at Carnegie Tech, the campus dining
hall was called Skibo.
- The Peace Palace in the Hauge,
financed by Carnegie. The idea was not initiated by him. It was Dutch
celebrities who planned to construct this building. They then decided to
approach the richest person on earth. Carnegie donated one-half million
dollars, sufficient for the entire project.
Click here for the Wikipedia page. I was there in 2015.
- Something wrong!! The Museum is eager to show Carnegie's extensive
philanthropic ventures. Good. However, the Museum does not show a single
word about the Carnegie Institute of Technology, which later became CMU
(Carnegie Mellon University). You would agree that the Museum or CMU, if
not both, deserves a blame for this serious negligence.
Carnegie Tech in Pittsburgh.
- It was indeed a painful experience for me since I spent the best four
years of my life while I was an undergraduate student at the Carnegie
Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh.
The best solution to this problem is to add my Pittsburgh page to this webpage.
Andrew Carnegie relaxing at his
Skibo Castle, but
his heart was always in the work.
Peace Palace in the Hague.
- Portrait of his wife. She donated this building as is said on the entrance wall. Her name was Louise Whitehead Carnegie.
- You are thus invited to my Pittsburgh page.
- In addition to Carnegie, Scotland produced many great people who changed this world. Click here.
|Andrew Carnegie and his Heart.|
- Who is responsible for this webpage?
- copyright@2015 by Y. S. Kim, unless otherwise specified.
Some of the black-white photos are from the Carnegie-Tech Year Book 1958.