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The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

GENERAL ELECTRIC CO. - The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

The GENERAL ELECTRIC CO., a major manufacturer of electrical appliances and a leader in the development of electrical lighting, has maintained important manufacturing and research-and-development facilities in Cleveland since 1901. When GE was established on 1 June 1892, it acquired Cleveland's Brush Electric Co., which had been formed in 1880 by lighting pioneer CHAS. F. BRUSH†. As part of the new company, the Brush Electric facilities at Mason (Hough) and Belden (E. 45th) streets became the home of the National Electric Lamp Assn. (NELA), organized in May 1901 by a group of small electric companies to pool their research and development activities and share the results of these engineering efforts. In a secret arrangement, NELA, 75% owned by GE, moved into the Brush plant in 1902. As the result of a federal antitrust action in 1911, GE absorbed NELA as its National Quality Lamp Works Division and built a complex of 7 buildings in the nation's first industrial park. Located on 37 acres of land in EAST CLEVELAND, it opened on 18 Apr. 1913. By 1937 GE had made NELA PARK the headquarters of its incandescent lamp department. Between 1913-63, a constant two-thirds of the work performed there involved research and development, which produced high- and low-beam headlights for automobiles (1924), camera flashbulbs (1930), and the fluorescent lamp (1938). Research and development there grew to include 24 major buildings by 1963, employing more than 2,000 people.

Among the other production facilities GE maintained in Cleveland were the Pitney Glass Works, located at 1133 E. 152 St., which began producing lightbulbs in 1919; the Chemical Products Works, located in Nela Park, which made fluorescent powders and chemicals; the Cleveland Weld Works at the E. 152 St. plant; and an appliance and merchandise distributorship on Woodland Ave. The latter 2 operations closed in 1972, as did a refractory metals laboratory that had opened in 1955. In 1995 GE's Nela Park Plant remained one of the company's primary plants and operations centers, employing nearly 5,700 people.

Last Modified: 16 Jul 1997 11:33:47 AM

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