EBay Find: Westinghouse Diary, 1945

Here’s another neat little item purchased on EBay:
This is a sub-category of notebooks that I could happily collect: small promotional diaries given out to the employees or business partners of various corporations. I have ones in my collection from Sandoz, GE, and the Harvard Coop, and this Westinghouse one was a great addition. First of all, it’s from 1945! I can’t believe it’s still in such pristine condition. It measures about 2.5 x 4.5″. The cover seems to be real leather, and the pages are gilt-edged. And it also has a lot of fun extras inside, as you’ll see…
It starts off with a pretty standard inside front cover: a 12-month calendar and a title page with the company logo and slogan: “Plants in 25 Cities… Offices Everywhere.”


Then there’s a page for identification, which a certain Mr. or Ms. Newhouse filled out with Social Security number, address, and the wonderful phone number “Ridley Park 17828.” Then we get into the diary portion with a week to each page:


I suspect that these cryptic notes may relate to some sort of mechanical or engineering work, but I’m really not sure. The whole month of January then seems to track mileage and hours worked, which make it look like the person worked without a single day off for an entire month. They also traveled 11 miles most days and noted expenses of one dollar a day.
After February, there are no more diary entries. After the calendar pages, there are a few for telephone numbers and addresses, with only one name jotted down: Joe Rice, Signal Detachment, Signal Depot, Baltimore -19-.

The end of the calendar and address pages brings us to this point about halfway through the notebook:
Then begins the fun stuff! First we have a directory of all Westinghouse offices and plants, coded by type as “sales office,” “manufacturing and repair shop,” “warehouse,” etc. Then you have a listing of other electrical supply companies that acted as Westinghouse agents. Then you have a few pages of 1940 census data by city, weights and measures, and “handy formulas” along the lines of those found in my engineer’s field book. You even get a table of “Approximate Amperes per Terminal for Squirrel-Cage Induction Motors,” whatever those are! (I can’t help imagining a squirrel whizzing around in some sort of motorized cage!)


Best of all, at the end you get several lovely full-color maps– a pretty standard set of United States and continent maps, plus the baffling addition of a full page devoted to the Philippines. Of course there are lots of interesting differences from today’s world maps, especially in Africa.
At the end of the diary, there’s a nice little index that tells you where to find all the various bits of info. Helpful, since there’s so much data packed in!


What a great little notebook… Westinghouse still exists today, but I’ll bet they don’t give out promo items like this anymore.

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9 Responses to “EBay Find: Westinghouse Diary, 1945”

  1. What a great review and what a find! I dread to think what you may have to do to a squirrel to get it to generate electricity! 😉

  2. That’s one handy notebook. Companies don’t give out resourceful promotional products like this anymore because everyone just uses their PDA to just down notes and access whatever information they need at the moment.

  3. That is a great story, what a find! Why do I always get rubbish rubbish and more rubbish from ebday.

    Keep posting!

  4. Cool find! 😉

  5. The Second Carnival of Pen, Pencil and Paper…

    Welcome to the September 8, 2009 edition of carnival of pen, pencil and paper. My name is Brad, and I am a pen addict, and I am also the host for this months blog carnival. So sit back, relax, grab……

  6. I would suggest that the person who owned that diary either worked as a builder, or had some similar job. The reason i say this is because the notes in westinghouse3.jpg look like quantity purchase/sale records. Just a thought.

  7. Or, seing as you know that it;s from westinghouse electricity co, it is likely that it was materials for installing power lines, or even a conversion station

  8. Harry Truman kept his short-lived 1947 diary in a similar book. See http://www.trumanlibrary.org/diary/index.html for a transcript and illustrations.

  9. I was searching Westinghouse today and found your story about the little promotional diaries they gave away. My father started working as an engineer for Westinghouse in 1942 and he always had his little diary…every year until he died in 1981. Westinghouse was a great company to work for. I was born in Ridley Park in 1943. When I was in high school in the late 1950’s Daddy would have little diaries for all my science and math teachers…they loved them and always wanted one the next year. Nice memories. My Dad helped me with my homework with his Westinghouse pencil!!

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