The Westinghouse Memorial is a monument located in Schenley Park, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It commemorates George Westinghouse (1846 – 1914) a world renowned engineer and inventor. Daniel Chester French was the sculptor for the statue and the main panel, and Paul Fjelde designed the side panels. The memorial consists of a statue of a schoolboy, who represents “The Spirit of the American Youth”. He looks on at three panels that represent the life of George Westinghouse and is presumed to draw inspiration from them.
In September 2015 the team of McKay Lodge Fine Arts Conservation Laboratory completed the restoration treatment of the Memorial. The project was an integral part of common efforts of the City of Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy to restore the historic Westinghouse Memorial and Pond in Schenley Park. Included in this project scope was the full restoration of the lily pond and the memorial sculpture, as well as landscaping with native plants, lighting and stormwater management implementation to benefit the Panther Hollow Watershed.
The condition of the 84 year-old monument was alarming. The architectural stone components of the Memorial were showing many signs of structural degradation. The pointing mortar was missing in most of the joints and due to the extensive water infiltration and subsequent frost jacking, many blocks were pushed apart, detatched and cracked. The stone (black pearl granite) was heavily soiled and covered with moss and algae. Water infiltration created streaks of white mineral deposits. The stone blocks exhibited many signs of mechanical damage. Largest losses were approx. 20 inches long and 5 inches wide.
The bronze elements were mostly in a good shape, except for the end piece of the two-winged superstructure on its (proper) left side.
The multi-step treatment entailed structural stabilization by reseting the stone blocks and repointing the joints. The stone surface was cleaned and refinished by dry and wet-polishing. The largest losses were repaired with dutchman repairs, utilizing the original stone sourced from the inside of the monument.
The distorted bronze element was cut out, straightened out and welded back in. The reliefs and the lettering carved in stone were gilded with 24 carat gold leaf.
The overall pond restoration continues and we are looking forward to seeing the final result.