historical society of western pennsylvania

Another great collection that has received funding through the National Public Historical Publications and Records Commission, part of the National Archives.

Bertha Lamme was as an engineer with the Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Company in the late 19th and early 20th century. In 1896, the New York Herald called her the “only woman electrical engineer in the country,” reporting on her attendance at a national convention.

She came to Pittsburgh after her 1893 graduation from Ohio State University. Lamme worked at Westinghouse for 12 years doing intricate calculations on machinery design and performance, and she designed, drafted, and may have invented electrical machinery. You can read more about this pioneer at http://www.heinzhistorycenter.org/blog/collection-spotlight/bertha-lamme-engineer.

The NHPRC is funding the Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania for a two-year project to undertake folder-level processing of 13 collections that document businesses and industries located in western Pennsylvania. These collections cover the period 1844-2002 and total approximately 1,130 linear feet.

The collections targeted for this project include records of influential Pittsburgh-based companies such as Westinghouse, Alcoa, and U.S. Steel, as well as several smaller firms, which document the beginning and evolution of the nation’s aluminum, glass, consumer electronics, steel, energy, food, and financial services industries, reveal diverse aspects of these companies and shed light on initiatives to recruit immigrants, women, and minorities to the workforce; World War I and II production efforts; labor union strife; national transportation systems and infrastructure; the rise and fall of manufacturing; the evolution of advertising; and the emergence of multinational corporations.

The image of Bertha Lamme, at work at Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Company, 1895, courtesy of Dorothy Boyer.