British Westinghouse

British Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company was a subsidiary of the American Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company. British Westinghouse would become Metropolitan Vickers in 1919 and after merging with British Thomson-Houston in 1929 became Associated Electrical Industries (AEI) in 1959. Further consolidation saw AEI taken over by GEC in 1967.

George Westinghouse established British Westinghouse in 1899 with capital from his own company and a smaller share from UK investors. The company commenced the construction of its first factory in Trafford Park, Manchester the same year. Manufacturing began in 1902, the same year as the rival British Thomson-Houston (BTH). BTH was majority owned by General Electric and the competition between BTH and British Westinghouse mirrored that of the parent companies, GE and Westinghouse in America.

In 1907 Westinghouse went into receivership with the result executive control of the company was taken away from George Westinghouse, though he remained as President. Another effect of this was the increased independence of British Westinghouse. This was reinforced in 1910 when the board voted to remove George Westinghouse from his role as Chairman. American Westinghouse did retain over half the shares however.

In 1916 British Westinghouse, following the impression that American control of the company hindered its performance during World War I, began the transition to a British owned company. Metropolitan Carriage Wagon Company bought a controlling interest in the group in 1917. The same year the board accepted collaboration with Vickers and the name Metropolitan Vickers was chosen. Vickers assumed complete control in 1919 when Metropolitan Carriage was sold to the company.


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