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Brief Biographical / Historical Sketch


George Westinghouse established Westinghouse Electric Company in 1886 and founded Pittsburgh’s first commercial lighting firm, Allegheny County Light Company, in 1888 after acquiring many of the patents to Nicola Tesla's alternating current designs. Westinghouse then hired Tesla as a consultant. In addition to the battle over the better power generating method (alternating current vs. direct current), the existence of numerous small and large power companies provided stiff competition in the power generation business. By 1894, between six and eight power companies existed in Pittsburgh. The most prominent companies were Allegheny County Light Company and East End Electric Company. Even though Allegheny County Light Company was responsible for installing the first street lights in Pittsburgh, East End Electric was responsible for the takeover of many of the other smaller Pittsburgh electric companies. By 1897, the Philadelphia Company had worked its way to Pittsburgh and by 1898 became the holding company for the Allegheny County Light Company.

The Duquesne Light Company was formed by merger with the Allegheny County Light Company in 1912, still held by the Philadelphia Company. As of 1926 it was the tenth largest electric service company in the United States. In 1930, the J.H. Reed power station opened which greatly increased the generating capacity of the company. In 1957, Duquesne Light developed and opened the world’s first full scale nuclear power station. Community has always been important to the company, and the traditions of picnics and sports shown in these pictures carried on for many years. Today, Duquesne Light serves roughly 588,000 people in Beaver and Allegheny Counties.