FILE - This Feb. 16, 2004 file photo shows the 5-million volt van de Graff generator, the nation's first large-scale industrial atom smasher, at a Westinghouse research facility in Forest Hills, Pa. The property was sold to developer Gary Silversmith, of Washington, D.C. in 2013. During site preparation on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2015, the 1937 iconic Westinghouse atom smasher was torn down. But Silversmith says he plans to preserve the structure no matter what happens to the property it was on. (AP Photo/John Heller, File)

FILE - This Feb. 16, 2004 file photo shows the 5-million volt van de Graff generator, the nation's first large-scale industrial atom smasher, at a Westinghouse research facility in Forest Hills, Pa. The property was sold to developer Gary Silversmith,... of Washington, D.C. in 2013. During site preparation on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2015, the 1937 iconic Westinghouse atom smasher was torn down. But Silversmith says he plans to preserve the structure no matter what happens to the property it was on. (AP Photo/John Heller, File) (The Associated Press)

Developer plans to preserve iconic Westinghouse atom smasher on site near Pittsburgh

Industries Associated Press

A developer has knocked over the iconic Westinghouse atom smasher near Pittsburgh but says he plans to preserve the structure no matter what happens to the property it was on.

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Gary Silversmith of Washington, D.C. says the base of the lightbulb-shaped atom smasher was in too much disrepair to save. He says he will establish a new base and repaint the bulb including the "W'' for Westinghouse and keep it at the Forest Hills site.

Westinghouse built the atom smasher in 1937 as the nation's first industrial nuclear generator. It was ahead of its time, a few years before the discovery of nuclear fission revealed the possibilities of nuclear power. Research done at the site led to the discovery of the photo-fission of uranium.

Silversmith acquired the property in 2013.