General Electric’s logo was easy to spot in homes

Even light bulbs in Amer­i­can kitchens car­ried the GE logo, fea­tured  on appli­ances large and small— from ranges and refrig­er­a­tors to toast­ers and percolators

GE brought appli­ances to kitchens across Amer­i­ca and gave the adver­tis­ing world an eas­i­ly-iden­ti­fi­able, time­less logo that has lived for more 130 years with­out any real­ly notice­able changes oth­er than the adop­tion of blue as the cor­po­rate colour.

It has iden­ti­fied thou­sands of con­sumer prod­ucts and it requires no adap­ta­tion for today’s GE prod­ucts and services.

The company’s web­site today sum­ma­rizes the growth of Gen­er­al Elec­tric“From Thomas Alva Edison’s first incan­des­cent light bulb to the lat­est jet engine brim­ming with inter­net-con­nect­ed sen­sors and 3D-print­ed parts, GE has pio­neered tech­nolo­gies that have spurred world-trans­form­ing changes and improved the lives of billions.”

A ceil­ing fan in 1898 may have been the first prod­uct to car­ry the GE logo, cre­at­ed six years after Edi­son Gen­er­al Elec­tric Com­pa­ny and the Thom­son-Hous­ton Elec­tric Com­pa­ny merged to form the Gen­er­al Elec­tric Company.

 GE advertisements  in the American Home magazine, June 1937, focused on electrical installations in homes and on appliances for the kitchen

GE Appliances
in 1937

Chaf­ing Dish­es,
Christ­mas-tree Lights
Cof­fee Mak­ers
Curl­ing Irons
Disc Stoves
Elec­tric Blan­kets
Elec­tric Cook­ers
Food Mix­ers
Heat­ing and Air-con­di­tion­ing
Heat­ing Pads
Immer­sion Heaters
Kitchen Dis­pos­all
Maz­da Lamps
Pho­to Lamps
Radi­ant Heaters
Room Cool­ers
Sand­wich Grills
Urn Sets
Vac­u­um Clean­ers
Ven­ti­lat­ing Fans
Waf­fle Irons
Water Cool­ers

American Home Magazine 1937

In 2016 Gen­er­al Elec­tric sold its appli­ance busi­ness to the Chi­nese com­pa­ny Haier for $5.4 billion.

Haier is best known as a man­u­fac­tur­er of house­hold goods includ­ing wash­ing machines, refrig­er­a­tors and microwaves. In recent years, it has sought to expand into new inter­na­tion­al mar­kets, includ­ing the U.S.


General Electric Heating and Air conditioning

General Ectric advertisement for heating and airconditioning
The adver­tise­ment tells read­ers that Mrs. Car­lot­ta Creevey Har­ri­son of Coop­er­stown, New York, installed GE heat­ing and Air con­di­tion­ing: “We have per­fect tem­per­a­ture even at 20 below—thanks to our grand G‑E Heat­ing and Air-Con­di­tion­ing system—which gives fil­tered and humid­i­fied warm air in the impor­tant rooms, and a radi­a­tor vapor sys­tem in the oth­ers.”   Mrs. Har­ri­son signed this endorsement.

Help for home own­ers was avail­able at the Gen­er­al Elec­tric Home Bureau with its staff of experts who “can sup­ply you and your archi­tect with author­i­ta­tive infor­ma­tion on the newest and best elec­tri­cal instal­la­tions and mate­ri­als.” Send­ing GE a name and address would get a home­own­er a free “New Amer­i­can Home” fold­er “full of facts on home plan­ning, wiring and elec­tri­cal equipment.”

General Electric Refrigerators and Ranges

 Gen­er­al Elec­tric refrig­er­a­tors and ranges date back more than 100 years. The first GE refrig­er­a­tor was devel­oped in 1910 with tech­nol­o­gy invent­ed in 1895 by  Mar­cel Aud­iffren, a French monk and physi­cist, who held the patent to a small domes­tic elec­tric refrig­er­a­tor that used sul­fur diox­ide to cool a cir­cu­lat­ing salt brine. The GE range orig­i­nat­ed with the 1918 merg­er of Gen­er­al Elec­tric and the Hot­point Elec­tric Appli­ance Company.

Refrig­er­a­tor and range inno­va­tion nev­er ceased. Read about it in A Cen­tu­ry of GE Appli­ance Man­u­fac­tur­ing in the Assem­bly Mag­a­zine. The West­ing­house sto­ry is equal­ly interesting.

General Electric Light Bulbs and Clocks

GE first sold light bulbs under the Maz­da name in 1909 although Edi­son began work­ing on incan­des­cent lights in 1878. Gen­er­al Elec­tric clocks date back to 1917 when GE acquired a strong inter­est in the Telechron Com­pa­ny, a man­u­fac­tur­er of elec­tric clocks between 1912 and 1992. The “Clock and Timer Divi­sion” of GE declined in the 1950s. GE sold the last of its for­mer Telechron plants in 1979.

The GE logo is a mono­gram, a motif of two let­ters form­ing one sym­bol. Mono­grams date back to Roman and Greek rulers and have long been used by com­pa­nies as rec­og­niz­able logos.

For those inter­est­ed in the ori­gin, here is a detailed exam­i­na­tion of the GE logo: The His­to­ry of the GE Monogram

And here is an inter­est­ing video:  The his­to­ry of GE: From Thomas Edi­son to jet engines to being kicked out of the Dow