Library of Congress


The Library of Congress > Teachers > Classroom Materials > Collection Connections > Inside an American Factory
The little train robbery / Thomas A. Edison, Inc. 1905.

[Detail] Panorama exterior Westinghouse works, 1904.

Arts & Humanities

1) Biographies and Obituaries

The Westinghouse Works were largely the product of one inventor-industrialist, George Westinghouse. Students can read other biographies of George Westinghouse in addition to "About George Westinghouse" found in the Special Presentation and write an obituary for him that accurately represents his life and achievements.

2) Creative Writing

There are a number of creative writing activities that could work with these materials. Students can read "Life in Wilmerding, 'The Air Brake City'," watch some of the films, and compose their own diary of what a typical week for a factory employee would have been like. They could write a poem or comedy routine about alternating current (AC) versus direct current (DC).

3) Expository Writing

Westinghouse contributed greatly to the use of electrical products and to the modernization of transportation. Students can research and write a report on the history of electricity or the history of railway transportation in the United States. How have technological advancements in these areas contributed to society?

4) Journalistic Writing

Students can pretend they are reporters for a newspaper in 1904 and write an article on the battle between Edison and Westinghouse over direct current versus alternating current. They can research the topic in books to find quotations from Edison and Westinghouse and other information to use in the article.