Forest Hills, Pennsylvania: Westinghouse Atom SmasherThe Atom Smasher (the world's first Industrial Van de Graaff generator) was built by Westinghouse Research Labs in 1937.
- 386 Ave. A, Forest Hills, PA
- I-376 exit 78A. Drive east on US Hwy 30/Lincoln Hwy for two miles. Turn left onto Ave. B, then right onto Ave. A. Drive to the end; the Smasher's there.
- Jan. 2015: Reported dismantled.
Visitor Tips and News About Westinghouse Atom Smasher
I just read that the Atom Smasher has been torn down due to disrepair of the building below. But the news report states they plan to keep it there, repaint it and put it back up.[Kate, 01/21/2015]
The brick-and-mortar base of the 1937 atom smasher was removed because it was falling apart. The 150-ton smasher is currently lying on the ground, but its owner has said that he wants to build a new base and stand the atom smasher upright again as soon as possible.
The Atom Smasher (the world's first Industrial Van de Graaff generator) was built by Westinghouse Research Labs in 1937. Five million volts produced by the generator were used to bombard atoms with high energy electrons, creating nuclear reactions. The steady voltage output of the Atom Smasher was essential in the development of nuclear physics and led to development of nuclear power generation. The tank-gun stabilizer and early fax machine were also developed at the Forest Hills site.
It was dedicated as an IEEE Electrical Engineering Milestone on May 29, 1985 and a National Historic Landmark in 2010. In 2004 the other laboratory buildings at the site were demolished, but the Atom smasher remains.[James Rapach, 07/07/2012]
We imagine the poor, smashed atoms dropping out of the bottom of that pear-shaped tank like -- although that probably wasn't how it worked at all.