Click for homepage
GEC
General Electric Company · UK

The General Electric Company, 1 abbreviated GEC, was a British industrial conglomerate involved in consumer and defence electronics, (tele)communications and engineering, established in 1886. At one point it was Britains largest employer with more than 250,000 people on its payroll in the 1980s, and an annual profit of more than 1 Billion GBP in the 1990s [1].


The company has its roots in The General Electric Apparatus Company that had been founded in the 1880s [1], and steadily grew during the next 100 years, by expanding its businesses and by a plethora of acquisitions. From the late 1990s onwards, the company was gradually dismantled. The defence arm – Marconic Electronics Systems – was sold to British Aerospace (BAe) and became known as BAE Systems, whilst the rest continued as Marconi Communications.

Following the acquisition of several US telecom manufacturers and the losses from the bursting dot-com bubble in 2001, Marconi plc was restructured and became Marconi Corporation plc. In 2005, Ericsson acquired the bulk of the company, whilst the remainder was renamed Telent [1].

  1. Not to be confused with the unrelated American General Electric Company (GE).

GEC products on this website
GPO Telephone No. 740
Headquarters
  • 1914
    The General Electric Co.
    67 Queen Victoria Street
    EC London (UK)

  • 1937
    The General Electric Co.
    Magnet House
    Kingsway, London WC2 (UK)
History
  • 198x
    Established as General Electric Apparatus Co.
  • 1886
    Name changed to General Electric Company
  • 1887
    First catalogue published
  • 1888
    Manchester Works factory opened in Salford (UK)
  • 1888
    Manufacturing of telephones, bells and switches
  • 1889
    General Electric Co. Ltd. (GEC) established as plc
  • 1892
    GEC established Robertson Electric Lamps
  • 1895
    Works at Chapel Street (Manchester, UK)
  • 1896
    Established works in Birmingham
  • 1900
    Company Incorporated (Inc.)
  • 1906
    Hugo Hirst managing director
  • 1914
    Pirelli-General formed (50% partnership with Pirelli)
  • 1917
    Osram-Robertson Lamp Works acquired
  • 1918
    Osram acquired
  • 1919
    Industrial research laboratires established at Wembley
  • 1919
    Marconi-Osram Valve Co. formet (in partnership with Marconi)
  • 1921
    Head office moved to Kingsway (London, UK)
  • 1921
    Oriental Tube Co. acquired
  • 1922
    British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) formed (with 5 others)
  • 1923
    Signalling department merged with Siemens Brothers
  • 1936
    First demonstration of a television receiver
  • WWII
    Development of cavity magnetron for radar
  • 1946
    Glass Bulbs Ltd. formed together with BTH
  • 1953
    Manufacturing of TV sets
  • 1954
    Start of 1301 computer development (with BTM)
  • 1955
    Research in nuclear power
  • 1956
    Shares in M-O Valve company purchased from EMI
  • 1961
    Acquisition of Radio and Allied Industries (RAI)
  • 1961
    GEC Telecommunication and GEC Electronics split as subsidaries
  • 1962
    Pirelli-General shares sold to Pirelli
  • 1962
    Associated Semicondusctor Manufacturers formed (with Mullard)
  • 1963
    Arnold Weinstock managing director
  • 1967
    Acquisition of Associated Electrical Industries (AEI)
  • 1968
    GEC merged with English Electric Company
  • 1968
    Major reorganisations (that lasted 5 years)
  • 1968
    GEC-Marconi Electronics Ltd. formed
  • 1968
    GEC-Elliot Automation Ltd. formed
  • 1969
    12,000 employees made redundant
  • 1969
    Marconi-Elliot Computer Systems formed
  • 1974
    Yarrow Shipbuilders acquired
  • 1979
    Acquisition of A.B. Dick Company of Chicago (USA)
  • 1979
    Acquisition of W. and T. Avery
  • 1981
    Acquisition of several American companies
  • 1985
    Hostile takeover bid for Plessey (anulled by MMC)
  • 1987
    Acquisition of Lear Astronics (USA)
  • 1988
    50/50 joint venture GEC-Plessey Telecommunications (GPT)
  • 1988
    Reorganisation
  • 1988
    GEC Siemens plc formed (joint venture with Siemens AG)
  • 1989
    Plessey acquired by GEC Siemens
  • 1989
    50/50 joint venture GEC Alsthom, with CGE (France)
  • 1989
    New division: General Domestic Appliances
  • 1990
    Acquisition of parts of Ferranti
  • 1990
    GEC Plessey Semiconductors established
  • 1995
    Acquisition of Vickers Shipbuilding and Engineering (VSEL)
  • 1998
    Marconi Electronic Systems Ltd. formed
  • 1998
    Acquisition of American defence contractor Tracor
  • 1998
    Acquisition of remaining shares of GEC-Plessey Telecommunications (GPT)
  • 1998
    GPT merged with Marconi Communications
  • 1999
    Defence business demerged as Marconi Electronic Systems (MES)
  • 1999
    MES merged with British Aerospace (BAe)
  • 1999
    GEC renamed Marconi plc.
  • 2001
    Losses from bursting dot-com bubble
  • 2005
    Most of Marconi Corporation plc sold to Ericsson
  • 2006
    Remainder of Marconi plc renamed Telent plc.
References
  1. Wikipedia, General Electric Company
    Retrieved August 2021.

  2. Grace's Guide, GEC
    Website: Grace's Guide to British Industrial History.
    Retrieved August 2021.

  3. Grace's Guide, Marconi plc
    Website: Grace's Guide to British Industrial History.
    Retrieved August 2021.
Further information
Any links shown in red are currently unavailable. If you like the information on this website, why not make a donation?
Crypto Museum. Created: Monday 09 August 2021. Last changed: Monday, 09 August 2021 - 10:09 CET.
Click for homepage