9. George Westinghouse
(October 6, 1846 – March 12, 1914)
INVENTION: Rotary Steam Engine
George Westinghouse was born in Central Bridge, New York. He had nine siblings. His father was an agricultural machine shop owner. He initially worked in his father’s shop. In 1876, he developed a rotary steam engine when he just 19 years old. He received his first patent on October 31, 1865.
In April of 1869, he received another patent for his invention “the air brake system” where compressed air was used instead of manually-operated brakes. This made the train travel more safely with higher speeds. In fact, this idea is among the great inventions that even Modern trains use brakes based on this design with variations.