Skip to main content

Archives of the General Electric Company plc , 1881-2003


  • How to


  • Creation: 1881-2003

Language of Materials

  • English

Biographical / Historical

The General Electric Company was created as the General Electric Apparatus Company in 1886 by Hugo Hirst and Gustav Byng from a small electrical business established in London by Byng (Gustav Binswanger and Company, using Byng's original name). It became the General Electric Company in 1889, and was made a public company in 1900. It became increasingly successful especially under the influence of Hirst. Initially manufacture was focussed on electric bells and light fittings, but this expanded to a wide range of electrical equipment - resulting in the firm's slogan 'Everything Electrical'. The managing directorship of Arnold Weinstock from 1963 onwards saw GEC's rapid expansion, not least due to mergers with Associated Electrical Industries in 1967 and the English Electric Company in 1968. Further takeovers and mergers made the company one of the largest private employers in the UK. Policy changes following Weinstock's retirement in 1996 saw several elements of the company being sold off, and it was relaunched as Marconi plc in 1999 (following the disposal of its subsidiary Marconi Electronic Systems). A further relaunch as the Marconi Corporation plc in 2002 was ultimately unsuccessful in saving the company from financial difficulties, and a large portion was sold to Ericsson in 2005, with the remainder forming the successor telent plc, now telent Ltd.

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom