General Electric Company (NYSE: GE), or GE, is an American multinational conglomerate corporation incorporated in Schenectady, New York and headquartered in Fairfield, Connecticut, United States. The company operates through four segments: Energy, Technology Infrastructure, Capital Finance and Consumer & Industrial.
In 2011, Fortune ranked GE the 6th largest firm in the U.S., as well as the 14th most profitable. Other rankings for 2011 include #7 company for leaders (Fortune), #5 best global brand (Interbrand), #82 green company (Newsweek), #13 most admired company (Fortune), and #19 most innovative company (Fast Company).
By 1890, Thomas Edison had brought together several of his business interests under one corporation to form Edison General Electric. At about the same time, Thomson-Houston Electric Company, under the leadership of Charles Coffin, gained access to a number of key patents through the acquisition of a number of competitors. Subsequently, General Electric was formed by the 1892 merger of Edison General Electric of Schenectady, New York and Thomson-Houston Electric Company of Lynn, Massachusetts and both plants remain in operation under the GE banner to this day. The company was incorporated in New York, with the Schenectady plant as headquarters for many years thereafter. Around the same time, General Electric's Canadian counterpart, Canadian General Electric, was formed.
In 1896, General Electric was one of the original 12 companies listed on the newly formed Dow Jones Industrial Average and still remains after 115 years, the only one remaining on the Dow index.
23 Ton diesel electric locomotive made at the General Electric Corp. plant in Schenectady, New York
In 1911 the National Electric Lamp Association (NELA) was absorbed into General Electric's existing lighting business. GE then established its lighting division headquarters at Nela Park in East Cleveland, Ohio. Nela Park is still the headquarters for GE's lighting business. In 1935, GE was one of the top 30 companies traded at the London Stock Exchange.
The Radio Corporation of America (RCA) was founded by GE in 1919 to further international radio. GE used RCA as its retail arm for radio sales from 1919, when GE began production, until separation in 1930. RCA would quickly grow into an industrial giant of its own.