History of General Electric Appliances

© Copyright iFix Appliances 2016


Commercial electric refrigerators are placed on the market by the federal Automated Refrigeration Co. of New York. GE supplies compressor motors and controls for those refrigerators.


New heating elements in GE’s appliances use longer lasting nickel-chromium alloy wire in place of iron wire.


A French monk named Marcel Audiffren conceived the idea Hotpoint Rangeof an electric refrigerator for home use around 1910. The “Audiffren”, a
sulfur dioxide compressor refrigerator, is manufactured by GE at the Fort Wayne Works after its initial development in France.

An electric range is manufactured by George A.Hughes, whose company would later join with Hotpoint to form the Edison Electric Appliance

Graphic Hotpoint History by hotpoint.com


Limited production of the first household refrigerator begins at GE’s Ft.Wayne Works


GE announces the first hermetically sealed domestic refrigerator. The development of this compact, quiet, low maintenance unit is the result of the combination of many technologies.

1927Monitor-Top Refrigerator

The Electric Refrigeration Department is established and begins production of the “Monitor Top” hermetically sealed refrigerator. Its all-steel cabinet is another GE innovation


The Calrod high speed heating unit is incorporated in home electric ranges by the Hotpoint company. An electric clothes washer for home use is placed on the market.



Refrigerator – General Electric [GE], Monitor Top, White by Museums Victoria is licensed under Attribution 4.0 International


Demonstrating the rapid consumer acceptance of a product introduced only four years earlier, the one millionth GE electric refrigerator is presented to the Henry Ford Museum.


The Air Conditioning Department is established to handle electric devices for home heating, humidifying and temperature control.


GE announces a line of domestic gas-burning furnaces. A new household electric clothes dryer is introduced. It will handle as many as eight sheets or the contents of an 8-pound washer at one time.


A new assembly line for the large scale production of electric washing machines is placed in operation at Bridgeport, Connecticut.


Window-mounted air conditioners are introduced for home use.


Within weeks after Japan’s surrender, General Electric starts producing washing machines and other large appliances by “improved methods used in building bazookas.”


Hotpoint Range
Hotpoint introduces the first custom-matched cooking equipment for fast food service operations. An electronic oven for restaurants is developed and being used in food heating experiments. It is designed to heat pre-cooked frozen foods to table temperature in about a minute.

The Erie Plant produces the first two-door refrigerator-freezer combination. In this 7.5 cubic foot unit, the freezer compartment keeps frozen foods protected at zero 1o 10F, while the refrigerator section maintains about 38F for normal food storage and does not have to be defrosted.

The first completely automatic clothes washer is introduced. An added advantage is the mechanical design which reduces vibration to the point that the washer no longer need be bolted to the floor.


The first truly automatic portable dishwasher, the Mobile Maid, is shipped from the recently completed (1952) Appliance Park facility in Louisville, Kentucky.


Clothes Washer
John Bochan of Appliance Park invents the Filter-Flo System for automatic clothes washers. It removes lint from the wash as it is generated.

Philip Hughes Invents the safety start switch for use in home clothes dryers. By interlocking the timer with a separate “start” switch, access to the dryer can be safely obtained by the user without altering the drying time cycle.


Housewares division introduces the T-83 Toast-R-Oven, the first of a line which later will include broiling capabilities and larger toasting and baking capacity in a compact, energy saving appliance.

The first automatic drying termination cycle is devised for clothes dryers. It increases drying efficiency while bringing added convenience to home laundering.


Rotary compressors are developed for use in room air conditioners. The new design has fewer parts and its size, weight and quite operation make it particularly suitable for window and wall mounting. The invention of the spine fin heat transfer surface, with continuous refrigerant tubing and thousands of heat transfer spines, permits flexibility in design that results in the development of many new air conditioner applications.


A recognized need for larger capacity clothes washers leads to the introduction of the V-12 washer, the first automatic washer of 12-pound capacity available to the public.


The Mini-Basket washing system is added to the automatic washer to improve small load washing efficiency and to permit the handling of delicate handwashables. It uses 25 percent less energy than the small load setting on the same washer.

The first Package Terminal Air conditioner is the ZONELINE which can be installed through the wall in apartments, motels, schools and other institutions to allow individually controlled heating or cooling at the touch of a button.

The first foamed-in-place urethane insulated refrigerator is built at Appliance Park. The new 18.8-cu. Ft. capacity Spacemaker fits in the same space as the 1947 version of a 10-cu.ft. model.


The P-7 self-cleaning oven is introduced. In developing the oven, which uses a pyrolytic system to remove food soil, GE engineers were granted some 100 patents.


Sise-to-side refrigerator
Donald S.Cushing and Thomas E.Jenkins of Appliance Park design a dishwasher motor and water circulating pump combination whose improved efficiency reduces energy and operating costs to the consumer.


Appliance Park announces the first side-by-side refrigerator-freezer with an automatic dispenser for ice cubes and chilled water through the door.


Portable Air Conditioner
The Carry-Cool portable room air conditioner is introduced. Its light weight and rugged construction bring cool air in a package with convenience and cost previously unattainable


The first molded thermoplastic dishwasher tub is produced at Appliance Park. The one-piece tub reduces the number of fabricated parts required and gives the consumer a longer-lived, maintenance free product than is obtained from coated metals.


The Food Service Equipment Department introduces the Cook-N-Hold convection oven for restaurant use. It uses stored energy that would otherwise go to waste to complete to cooling cycle.


Microprocessor computerized cooking control is introduced to the fast food restaurant industry in the Dimension II series of fryers. Programming of the frying cycle provides food consistency, versatility, and energy savings.


Housewares Division completes development of the Versatron CTO-2000 countertop oven, featuring automatic, solid state electronic controls in a portable, energy saving appliance.

The Major Appliance Business Group announces the first two-door combination refrigerator-freezer with automatically defrosted fresh-food section and separately insulated zero-degree freezer.


GE Oven
The new GE Spacemaker microwave oven can be wall-mounted or hung from cabinets to provide a space saving alternative to counter-top microwave cooking. Installed over an electric cooktop or range, it frees up counter space, is easy to use, and has a built-in vent and cooking light.


The dishwasher factory in Loisville, Kentucky is turned into one of the most productive facilities of its kind as a result of a $38 million investment in state-of-the-art manufacturing, materials and inventory management and testing process.


The use of electronics in major appliances is extended with the introduction of dishwashers that can be programmed to “remember” when to start, microwave ovens that fit under a kitchen cabinet, and electronic refrigerators that “beep” if a door is left ajar.

In order to concentrate its Consumer Products resources in the large-scale consumer business, GE sells its Housewares Operations, consisting of its small appliance businesses, to Black & Decker Manufacturing Company.


The Space Center 27 electronic refrigerator is now the largest refrigerator offered by GE. It features a refreshment center, automatic ice maker and dispenser, and an electronic control center that tells users if the appliance is working properly.


The acquisition of the Roper Corporation and its range manufacturing facilities enhances the new lines of GE and Hotpoint gas ranges introduced in 1985 and 1986, respectively. Additions to the Monogram line of appliances for the growing designer kitchen market include gas-fueled cooktops, downdraft modular cooktops, and 24-inch counter-depth refrigerators with ice and water dispensers in the doors.


GE and GEC of the United Kingdom agree to combine their interests in European appliances and electrical controls. This joint venture elevates GE Appliances to the number two position in major appliances, worldwide.


A state-of-the art gas range facility is brought on line as a result of a joint venture with MABE, Mexico’s leading appliance manufacturer. The plant, in San Luis Potosi, produces GE’s new line of top quality XL44 gas ranges for the Mexican and American markets.


GE introduces the Profile 30 side-by-side, the world’s largest freestanding refrigerator, and a 27-cubic-foot Profile side-by-side that is completely free of chlorofluorocarbons in the compressor refrigerant.

Profile halogen/radiant cooktops offer consumers the option of halogen or radiant cooking, and the new 3-inch wall ovens have the largest capacity in the consumer market.


An agreement with Kojima, Inc. one of the largest retailers in Japan, marks the first time that GE Appliances will be able to sell products directly to Japanese retailers, cutting through the traditional layers of distribution.

The new Profile line of clothes washers, built at the completely redesigned home laundry plant in Louisville, KY., offers the largest capacity available in North America. Their new Auto Balance system virtually eliminates noise and vibration from off-balance loads.


The Spectra True Temp gas range is introduced as the first GE consumer product built using the methodologies of Design for Six Sigma. It captures the first four positions in a consumer magazine ranking due to its extremely accurate electronic control of oven temperatures and other consumer-judged performance and quality features.


GE Appliances introduces the revolutionary AdvantiumTM speed cooking oven, the first oven to deliver the cooking quality and versatility of a conventional oven with the “speed of light.” It uses high intensity halogen lamps which produce light waves that cook the outside of the food much like conventional radiant heat but also penetrate the surface so that the inside is cooked at the same time. As a result, food cooks evenly and so fast that more of the natural moisture is retained than even with “conventional” cooking. The AdvantiumTM can bake a potato in ten minutes, broil an inch-thick steak in seven minutes or roast a whole four-pound chicken in 20 minutes. With the touch of a button it can convert to a fully functional microwave oven and can use regular cookware.

Source: The General Electric story : a heritage of innovation, 1876-1999.


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