From Inspiration to Industry
With characteristic optimism and a vision of future possibilities, Thomas Edison forms the Edison Electric Light Company.
The electric light arrives: On October 21 at the Menlo Park Laboratory in New Jersey, Edison invents the first commercially practical incandescent lamp. The carbon filament lamp successfully completes a forty-hour duration test. This invention had a profound impact in people's daily lives.
Edison and his team develop the first dynamos — devices that convert mechanical energy into electrical energy — capable of powering neighborhood-wide lighting systems.
On January 27, Edison is granted his main lamp patent, no. 223,898, covering the fundamental features of the carbon filament lamp. Edison adopts carbonized bamboo filaments for his lamps and increases their rated life to 600 hours, the first in a series of improvements that continues to this day.
Edison starts the power generation business by forming the Edison Electric Illuminating Company and constructing America's first central power station in New York City.
Edison establishes the first incandescent lamp factory at Menlo Park, New Jersey.
GE is born! The General Electric Company is formed by merging the Edison General Electric Company and the Thomson-Houston Company, another prominent manufacturer of dynamos and electric lights.
GE puts electricity to work on a larger scale, building the world's largest electric locomotives (90 tons) and transformers (800 kw).
A year after Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen introduces his discovery of X-rays to the world, GE's Elihu Thomson builds electrical equipment for the production of X-rays and demonstrates the use of stereoscopic "roentgen" pictures, for diagnosing bone fractures and locating foreign objects in the body. The long tradition of GE advances in medical imagery is begun with this practical application of an important scientific discovery.
The GE trademark (monogram) is registered, giving the company a mark that is instantly recognizable and helping to build the GE brand.
General Electric establishes the first laboratory in the U.S. dedicated entirely to scientific research. The 3-person laboratory is located in Schenectady, NY. This laboratory underscores GE's firm belief that if scientific research is conducted for its own sake, important practical applications of the scientific discoveries will necessarily follow.
GE's newest electrical invention is a breeze, as James J. Wood, a consulting engineer, receives patents for the electric fan produced at the Ft. Wayne Electric Works, extending the everyday usefulness of electrical power to ventilation.
The largest steam turbine yet developed, a 5000-kilowatt vertical shaft unit, is installed at the Fisk Street Station of the Chicago Edison Co. It occupies one tenth the space and is one third the cost of the engine originally planned for the power house, but its capacity is equal to that of any steam engine in existence.Advertisements
The imagination that has inspired our products for generations can also be found in our advertising. We demonstrate the many ways GE is making a difference in our world with exciting campaigns, and we’ve been doing it since the beginning. Explore some of our historical advertisements here.