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Westinghouse memories to be saved for history



Published: Sun, January 27, 2008 @ 12:00 a.m.

Volunteers are needed to catalog the items.

By LAURE CIOFFI

VINDICATOR PENNSYLVANIA BUREAU

SHARON, Pa. — Though just the shell of the old Westinghouse Electric Corp. is left, the memories held in the building during its heyday will live on.

That’s thanks to a donation by Sharon Coating LLC, the company that now inhabits part of the mile-long building used by Westinghouse on Sharpsville Avenue, to the Mercer County Historical Society.

Workers at Sharon Coating came across hundreds of photographs, movies and other items in the building they now use for steel coating.

“The guys were just about to toss it. It was by the grace of God that they called to see if we were interested,” said Bill Philson, historical society director, of the memorabilia.

Among the items saved were a pneumatic messaging tube used for early communications in the large industrial facility, as well as hundreds of photographs, movies and slides.

Philson believes the company that manufactured electrical transformers on the site from 1922 to 1985 had its own full-time staff of photographers who compiled most of the items.

Many of the photographs are just of the products, but some do contain pictures of the workers too, he said.

Sharon Coating workers delivered the items to the historical society on Jan. 9 and 10, he said.

A cursory look at the items make it appear most of the items were from the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, Philson said. Some even date back to World War II era work, he added.

Philson intends to integrate the material into historical society displays in the future, but they first must organize it.

The items are now in storage until the historical society can find time to catalog them.

Philson said they welcome volunteers who are interested in cataloging the items or anyone who had their own Westinghouse memorabilia to add to the collection.

Philson estimates the items could be cataloged in two to three months if volunteers work on the collection full time. It would be a three- to five-year job if it’s done on a part-time basis, he said.

“We’d like people to volunteer. This might bring back a lot of old memories for them,” he said.

cioffi@vindy.com


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