a media industry resource

Westinghouse: Chronology


This chronology is indicative only. It covers -

  • Antecedents
  • Beginnings
  • Westinghouse buys and sells TelePrompter
  • Buys CBS, changes name to CBS
  • Viacom buys CBS

Context is provided by the broader communications and media timeline on this site.


1869 George Westinghouse forms Westinghouse Air Brake Company

1884 forms Westinghouse Electric Company

1886 becomes Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Company

1888 buys rights to Nikola Tesla's alternating current patents

1896 initiates hydroelectric generation at Niagara Falls

1899 forms British Westinghouse

1907 Westinghouse loses control of companies as result of 1907 financial panic

1912 US Radio Act introduces spectrum licencing

1912 Fessenden's National Electric Signaling Co goes into receivership

1913 AT&T forced to divest Western Union

1916 British Westinghouse separates from US Westinghouse

1917 Westinghouse buys Copeman Electric Stove Company

1917 US Navy buys Marconi's US shore and ship radio network

1919 Westinghouse's Pittsburgh radio station 8XK gets experimental licence

1919 British Westinghouse becomes Metropolitan Vickers Electrical Co and Metropolitan-Vickers Electrical Export Co after acquisition by Vickers

1919 Radio Corporation of America (RCA) incorporated to control patents of General Electric, AT&T, Westinghouse and United Fruit

1919 RCA acquires British Marconi's controlling interest in American Marconi

1920 Westinghouse receives first US commercial broadcasting licence, with 8XK broadcasting as KDKA

1920 Westinghouse buys International Radio Telegraph Co


1921 launches KYW radio station Philadelphia in partnership with Edison Company

1921 launches WJZ Newark and KDKA Pittsburgh

1926 AT&T sells Broadcasting Corporation of American (inc radio stations WEAF and WCAP) to RCA

1926 NBC established by RCA (50%), GE (30%), Westinghouse (20%)

1926 RCA, GE and Westinghouse buy WEAF in New York it as NBC anchor station

1927 music agent Arthur Judson creates United Independent Broadcasters (UIB) with 16 stations, with support from William Paley of La Palina Cigar and the Columbia Phonograph

1928 UIB restructured as the Columbia Phonograph Broadcasting System (CBS) with 16 affiliate stations

1930 Justice Dept launches antitrust action against 'radio trust'

1932 General Electric and Westinghouse sell RCA

1934 Federal Communications Commission replaces Federal Radio Commission

1935 Public Utility Holding Co Act

1936 Westinghouse Broadcasting buys radio stations WGL and WOWO

1938 CBS buys Columbia Records (formed 1889)

1932 NBC and CBS allow prices to be mentioned in radio commercials

1940 CBS demonstrates color television in New York

1941 first commercial black & white television broadcast in New York

1945 Westinghouse renamed Westinghouse Electric Corporation

1945 sells WGL radio station

1951 first coast to coast live tv in US

1954 Westinghouse founds Westinghouse Credit to finance appliance sales

1955 Westinghouse pays US$9.75m for DuMont's WDTV, Pittsburgh

1955 buys radio KYW Cleveland from NBC

1966 buys toy business

1963 CBS Records sets up first European branch, in UK

1965 CBS buys New York Yankees

1965 Westinghouse buys Marketeer electric vehicle business

1966 establishes Cinema Center Films

1966 Westinghouse establishes land development arm

1968 CBS-Sony Records founded in Japan as a joint venture

1969 Westinghouse buys 7Up bottling operation

1972 sells small home appliance business

1973 CBS sells New York Yankees

1974 Westinghouse sells stove and other large appliance arm to White Consolidated Industries (later acuired by Electrolux)

1975 reneges on uranium supply contracts (later sues Australian and other uranium producers for alleged cartel)

1975 sells Econo-Car car rental agency

1975 sells 45% stake in French nuclear plant builder Framatome

1976 closes mail order and record club business

1977 sells electric vehicle arm

1978 rebuys electric vehicle unit, sells to Nordskog

Westinghouse buys TelePrompter

1981 Westinghouse Broadcasting & Cable buys TelePrompter cable tv group (rebadged as Group W Cable) for US$646m, inc Jack Kent Cooke stake for US$70m

1982 sells 50% interest in Showtime.

1982 sells WOWO radio station to Price Communications

1982 sells lamps business to Philips

1982 sells 50% stake in Satellite Network News

1982 Tri-Star Pictures formed by CBS, HBO (Home Box Office) and Columbia Pictures

1984 CBS buys 33% stake in SportsChannel regional sports networks with Washington Post

1984 Westinghouse buys Unimation robotics for US$107m

1984 sells educational and language product operations

1984 sells industrial fan operations

1984 Prodigy online service provider launched by IBM, CBS and Sears

1985 Ted Turner, Jesse Helms and Ivan Boesky make unsuccessful bids for CBS

1985 CBS sells St Louis tv station to Viacom

1985 sells general books division of Holt Rinehart Winston

1985 sells 33% of TriStar Pictures

1986 cigarette, tobacco, cinema and insurance conglomerate Loews buys 25% stake in CBS

1986 CBS sells stake in Prodigy, later acquired by AOL

1986 Westinghouse sells Muzak

1986 buys Los Angeles TV station

1987 buys radio stations in Sacramento and Chicago

1987 buys electrical equipment, engineering and waste-disposal businesses

1987 CBS book publishing arm sold for US$500m

1987 music publishing arm sold for US$125m

1987 stake in SportsChannel sold

1987 Westinghouse sells Group W Cable to Comcast, AT&T and TCI

1987 sells elevator division to Schindler

1987 sells transmission division to ABB Asea Brown Boveri

1987 sells rail/peoplemover division

1987 sells 7Up bottling division

1988 CBS records sold to Sony for US$2bn

1989 Westinghouse buys Legacy Broadcasting Company

1989 buys Shaw-Walker and Reff furniture

1990 buys Knoll International furniture

1991 Westinghouse borrows US$3bn from GE

1994 sells distribution & controls arm for US$1.1bn

1994 sells electrical supplies arm for US$0.34bn

1994 buys Norden electronic systems division of United Technologies

1994 establishes partnership with CBS

1995 sells Westinghouse Communities (land development) for US$0.43bn

Westinghouse buys CBS

1995 Westinghouse buys CBS

1996 CBS buys Infinity radio broadcasting and outdoor advertising group for US$4.7bn

1996 sells The Knoll Group (office furniture) for US$0.56bn

1996 sells Defense electronics arm for US$3bn

1996 sells Westinghouse Security Systems for US$0.43bn

1997 Westinghouse Electric changes name to CBS

1997 sells Thermo King refrigerated transport arm for US$2.56bn

1997 buys American Radio Systems chain for US$2.6 billion, increasing its radio stations to 175

1998 sells 17% of Infinity Broadcasting for US$2.9bn

1998 sells WEEI-AM, WRKO-AM, WWTM-AM, WAAF-FM and WEGQ-FM in Boston to Entercom

1998 buys WYUU-FM and WLLD-FM in Tampa from Entercom

1999 CBS buys King World Productions, leading television program syndicator, for US$2.5bn

1999 Infinity buys Outdoor Systems billboard group for US$8.7bn

Viacom buys CBS

1999 Viacom buys CBS for US$50bn

1999 finalises sale of CBS nuclear power business to BNFL (British Nuclear Fuels), rebadged as Westinghouse Electric Company