The first appliances
Two women at a table use a variety of early General Electric home cooking heating devices, including a chafing dish. The first appliances were basic appliances such as a fan or a flat iron.
Typical American kitchen, 1885 (1885) by General Electric CompanyMuseum of Innovation & Science
A pre-electric kitchen
Earl Richardson of the Pacific Electric Heating Company created the modern electric iron in 1904. Based on his wife's suggestion, he created an iron that ends with a point at the front, in order to improve the ironing of collars.
Earl Richardson, the founder of Hotpoint. Richardson started the Pacific Electric Heating Company, which manufactured a variety of heating devices, including grills and irons. With the success of his "hotpoint" iron, Richardson changed the name of the company to Hotpoint. GE purchased Hotpoint and Hughes Electric in 1918 and merged the two companies together to form the Edison Electric Appliance Company, a GE subsidiary. By 1922, the Hughes name disappeared from the ranges, and Hotpoint became the dominant brand name of the company.
Electric iron spectacular electric advertising sign, made for the Toronto Electric Light Co. The lights and sign controls were produced by GE. A "sad" iron was a type of pre-electric flat irons.
Man poses with a pile of 2000 flat irons traded in for electric flat irons
Two advertisements from the early 1900s - "Ironing Day Lost its Terror" and "Harken General Electric." Flat Iron and Toaster. Advertisements for St. Joseph Railway, Light, Heat & Power Co. and The Youngstown Consolidated Gas & Electric Co.
A model uses an early General Electric flat iron in an advertising photograph. On the left of the ironing board is a stand for the iron. The model is wearing a maid's uniform.
A woman leans on a fireplace mantle next to a GE electric fan. The first electric fans were simple motors with blades attached to them.
Drawing of a plate featuring the General Electric Monogram for use on a GE electric fan in 1899. The Monogram was first used in 1898.
1902 General Electric fan, produced by its subsidiary, the Fort Wayne Electric Works, and carrying the FWEW abbreviation in the center of the fan grill.
A woman sits in a chair next to an early GE electric fan, while holding an umbrella
Grill Advertisement (1905/1915) by General Electric CompanyMuseum of Innovation & Science
Early 1900s advertisement for a General Electric grill. The advertisement is titled "Steak Electrocuted."
GE introduced the Model D-12 Electric Toaster, the first commercial electric toaster, in 1908. The toaster could only toast one side of a slice of bread at a time. To toast the other side of the bread, the user turned the toast over with their hands.
General Electric D-12 Electric Toaster (1908/1912) by General Electric CompanyMuseum of Innovation & Science
Woman poses with model D-12 electric toaster. GE introduced the first electric toaster in 1908.
General Electric Appliance Advertisements, Electric Flat Iron and Electric Toaster (1910/1915) by General Electric CompanyMuseum of Innovation & Science
Pictures of advertising for GE Toaster and Iron. The headline for the first advertisement is "Toast is Delicious." The key message for the electric iron advertisement is "GE Electric Iron Does Away With A World of Drudgery." Advertisement was sponsored by the Alabama Power Company
The Home Electrical
Advertisement highlights the different uses of electricity in the home,including refrigeration, vacuuming, ironing, washing, dishwashing, phonograph winding, massage, sewing, and heating. By the 1920s, as the majority of Americans had gained access to electricity, GE expanded its consumer appliance lines and began its famous "Initials of a Friend" campaign.
Woman with General Electric Chafing Dish, 1908 (1908/1908) by General Electric CompanyMuseum of Innovation & Science
Model using a GE chafing dish on a sideboard. The chafing dish in plugged into a nearby light socket.
Electric kitchen, Hillman home, 1905 (1905) by General Electric CompanyMuseum of Innovation & Science
First all-electric kitchen in the home of Henry W. Hillman, GE Heating Devices manager. It includes a percolator, water heaters, an electric frying pan, a grill, and an oven.
Three women demonstrate early GE appliances inside a booth. Includes toaster, chafing dishes, percolators, and other home heating devices.
Man removes toast from toaster and woman pours tea or coffee into a cup. A scene of Passaic Falls hangs on the wall.
Advertising photo showing early electric kitchen appliances, including a grill, fryer, percolator, chafing dish, and oven.
Man, woman, and child eat breakfast cooked using GE heating devices, including toaster, percolator, and water heater
This exhibit was developed in 2017 by miSci, the Museum of Innovation & Science. All photos were scanned from the General Electric Photograph Collection.