My Westinghouse Collection
My Westinghouse Collection
My father graduated in June, 1942, from the University of Texas in Austin with a degree in mechanical engineering. Through the University placement services he obtained a job with Westinghouse Electric Company in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. It had only been six months since the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and our country entered into World War II. Thousands of young men were being drafted into the military. Westinghouse, however, obtained draft deferments for their new engineers, including my father. Westinghouse obtained huge contracts from the government for war-related defense work.
My mother and father married on June 12, 1942 and following their wedding in Texas they rode a bus to their new home and job in Pittsburg. My father studied and worked in several assignments during the war. In 1945 at war’s end Westinghouse assigned my father to the Atlanta, Georgia office. He remained in his job at the Atlanta office for 39 years, until his death in 1981.
During these years you could definitely say we were a Westinghouse family … every electric appliance and device we owned bore the Westinghouse name. One great advantage to being a Westinghouse family was enjoying a very early TV in 1952. We also had a Westinghouse wringer washing machine that rolled to the kitchen sink and had hoses that attached to the water faucets. The washer had to be refilled with clean rinse water and then each piece of laundry was fed through the wringers and was finally hung outside on a clothes line.
My mother had a Free-Westinghouse electric sewing machine. I learned to sew first by hand stitching but graduated to machine stitching by second or third grade. By the fifth grade I made my own Easter dress on that faithful sewing machine. I modeled that dress in a 4-H fashion show and sewing contest; I won first prize. The machine had a buttonholer in a blue velvety box; I still remember the feel of that box. During those years our Christmas tree lights were strings of Westinghouse large flame shaped electric bulbs.
During their marriage my parents only owned two homes. Their first house was built in 1955 and had some real innovations of the day including a stacking washer and dryer (formerly clothes had to be hung outside to dry) and a dishwasher, a marvelous invention. We had a table top radio/phonograph that almost looked like the front of an automobile. When transistor radios became reality, my father seemed to have one of every type. Of course, we had a Westinghouse stove and refrigerator.
We had quite a few smaller Westinghouse products including some that were almost laughable. One electric gadget was called the Dog-A-Matic. This appliance was a box that opened to a metal grid of nail-like prongs that six hot dogs could be attached to. When plugged in, the prongs heated up and cooked the hot dogs. Another gadget, the Baconer, had two sides that opened up to expose a metal central section that six slices of bacon could be laid over. When the sides were closed and the appliance was turned on the bacon cooked perfectly. We also had a coffee maker, a waffle iron, and a clothes iron … all Westinghouse brand.
In their second home, built in 1973, we had all Westinghouse appliances. Radios and televisions were very important links to news and current events. Our models of televisions advanced through the years.
Probably like every large company, Westinghouse had many items that bore the Westinghouse name and logo that employees received. Much of my collection is made up of items that belonged to my Dad. After my mother’s death many of my father’s Westinghouse items were passed on down to my brother and his son. Among those items were numerous service pins representing up to 35 years of employment. There were various tie clips, pen and pencil sets, golf balls, a lighter, a slide rule, and a hard hat.
Because of this Westinghouse history, I have been drawn to any item with the Westinghouse logo, especially the kitchen items and a collection was born.