Timeline: Bright ideas

General Electric is set to announce that it is moving its global headquarters to Boston. Here’s a look at the history of the American conglomerate.

1878 Thomas Edison forms the Edison Electric Light Company

Thomas Edison with his famed light bulb.
Thomas Edison with his famed light bulb.

1879 Edison invents first commercial incandescent bulb at Menlo Park lab in New Jersey


1892 General Electric created by merger of Edison General Electric Co. and the Thomson-Houston Co. of Lynn, Massachusetts.

Thomson-Houston Electric Co. in Lynn.
King's Hand-book of the United States
Thomson-Houston Electric Co. in Lynn.

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In 1903 Acquires Stanley Electric Manufacturing Co. of Pittsfield, whose founder, William Stanley, developed the electric transformer.

 GE Courtesy Berkshire Historical Society, Pittsfield.
Courtesy Berkshire Historical Society
Stanley Electric Manufacturing Co. in Pittsfield.

1905 Sells first electric toaster

1910 Manufacturers first electric range, the Hotpoint

1912 Begins using resins to mold plastic parts


1917 Produce first sealed home refrigerators

1919 Forms Radio Corporation of America (RCA) with American Telephone & Telegraph

1927 Broadcasts first TV signal to a home in Schenectady, NY from GE station WGY

1930 Markets first electric clothes washer for home use

1935 Provides lighting for first night game of Major League Baseball


1956 Creates first toaster oven

1971 Introduces first portable air-conditioner

1981 Names UMass grad Jack Welch chief executive

General Electric Co. chief executive Jack Welch was seen in 2001.
Neal Hamberg/Associated Press
General Electric Co. chief executive Jack Welch was seen in 2001.

1992 Builds the Mars Observer for NASA.

2001 Taps Jeffrey Immelt to succeed Welch as CEO

Jeffrey mmelt was seen last year.
Adnan Abidi/REUTERS
Jeffrey Immelt was seen last year.

SOURCE: General Electric