This was a question posed by my wife’s aunt on Facebook. It is an interesting question and one that I have to admit started the thought process. As an interviewer I have talked to many people, from the rich and famous, to poor starving musicians and authors. There is a story behind every person.

But who would I most enjoy a conversation with? Who would provide the most interesting conversation? A notorious criminal like Jack The Ripper, a futurist like Leonardo De Vinci, a leading physicist like Stephen Hawkings, the list is endless. They all have unique stories to tell. They all have secrets yet to be unlocked.

My choice though might seem an unusual one. The man I would most like to interview would be George Westinghouse. For more than forty years this man invented a huge number of game changing items in a diverse number of industries.

He revolutionized the rail industry with the pneumatic braking system. In fact when he proposed the idea to Vanderbilt, Vanderbilt expressed incredulity that air could be used to stop a train and threw Westinghouse out of his office!  Of course a few short years later the Westinghouse brake system had revolutionized the rail industry.

The one area of the conversation I would most like to ask about however is the relationship, the triangle if you will, between George Westinghouse, Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison. If you ask most people about who the father of the modern electric system is they will likely say Thomas Edison.

They are wrong, It was George Westinghouse and his collaborator Nikola Tesla. If you doubt me, do some research, or watch this documentary.  It was Westinghouse that came up with AC (Alternating Current) while Edison continued to push the DC (Direct Current) solution.

Tesla took many of his ideas to his grave. Concepts that even today we are just beginning to understand. A good example would be the device to recharge your phone or other gizmo without  the need to actually plug it in, merely place it on the flat surface.

I would indeed love to sit down with George Westinghouse and ask him many questions. I also wonder what he might make of our world almost 100 years after his death in 1914? One thing is clear, George Westinghouse was a man with vision. The technology has changed since his time, but he would find ways to improve it. In fact if you look at George Westinghouse his strength was in improving products. If he were alive today I am sure that we would all be using wPhones, own Westingman portable music players, and the WestingNet would be the kingpin of global communications.  If we wanted to find information we would not be saying ‘I Googled’ we would be saying ‘I Westinged’.

So folks, that is who I would most like to talk to.

Simon Barrett

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