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Pittsburgh has been long hailed a sports city, but did you know that it’s also been popular amongst inventors? From medical marvels to astronomers, there are plenty of inventors for the city to celebrate. Here’s a short list of some of the amazing inventors that have spent time in the ‘Burgh:
Westinghouse Attracts Inventors
- George Westinghouse – Westinghouse was an American inventor and industrialist who made significant contributions to the development of the railway and electricity industries. He founded the Westinghouse Electric Company, which became one of the largest companies in the world. Westinghouse and Nikola Tesla worked on several projects together at the Westinghouse facilities in Pittsburgh. Their major project was developing alternating current (AC) technology.
- Frank Conrad – Conrad was an American electrical engineer who played a key role in the development of radio broadcasting. In 1916, he worked at Westinghouse to find ways to improve the quality of radio transmissions. Until his time, the concept of radio as a tool for mass communication hadn’t been fully utilized. He built one of the first commercial radio stations in the United States, KDKA in Pittsburgh, which went on the air in 1920.
Pittsburgh Inventor Puts An End to Disease
- Jonas Salk – Unlike previous generations, iron lungs are no longer a thing of childhood for most children, and we have Salk to thank. Jonas Salk was an American virologist who developed the first successful polio vaccine in 1955, before the creation of the vaccine, several polio epidemics occurred. During his time as a professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, he spent his time researching a vaccine for polio. His discovery helped to eradicate polio in the United States and around the world.
Pittsburgh’s Night Skies
- Samuel Pierpont Langley – Did you know that before the Wright Brothers, there was another person to achieve flight? Langley was an American astronomer, physicist, and aviation pioneer. He was the head of the Allegheny Observatory from 1867-1891. During that time, he developed the bolometer for measuring the intensity of infrared radiation from the stars. But he is best known for his work on the development of heavier-than-air flying machines, and he made several notable attempts to fly a human-carrying airplane. In 1903 he made the first successful piloted flight of a powered aircraft. However, his achievement was overshadowed by the Wright brothers’ achievement in flight at the same time. His work wasn’t in vain, as his contributions helped the field of aviation with future developments.
- John Brashear – What happens when an astronomy lover can’t purchase a telescope? They build their own. Brashear designed and built a number of telescopes and other scientific instruments, including a 30-inch refracting telescope that was the largest in the world at the time. He went on to found the Brashear Company in Pittsburgh. He was also director of the Allegheny Observatory from 1898-1900.
What Will the Future Bring?
Without a doubt, Pittsburgh is still home to inventors. The universities in the area help to ensure the area continues to have forward thinkers and creators.