Landmark GE advertisement from 1923. Since most urban homes now had electricity, GE broadened its line of appliances and consumer products. Working with Bruce Barton of BBDO, the "Initials of a friend" campaign was developed, capitalizing on the positive recognition of the GE monogram with the general public.
A typical pre-electric kitchen from 1885. Shows a variety of cooking, processing, and cleaning supplies. GE used this image to make comparisons between its modern kitchen and the "drudgery" of life before electricity.
Kitchens through the Years
Advertising photo showing early electric kitchen appliances, including a grill, fryer, percolator, chafing dish, and oven. Kitchens have evolved over the last century from very basic heating devices to smart appliances that communicate with the power grid.
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
A woman uses an electric mixer in a farm kitchen. Appliances include: Monitor-top refrigerator, mixer, toaster, electric range, and washing machine.
GE "Magic Kitchen" advertising display. The display includes an electric range, disposall, dishawasher, and one of the first flat-top refrigerators.
A group of Texas Rangerettes examine a GE "talking" kitchen at the Texas Centennial Exposition. The kitchen included a range and a Monitor-top refrigerator.
Three people examine a GE electric range in Allen's Store in Schenectady, NY. Pictured are ranges, refrigerators, and an ironer. People are identified as C. Kenyon, E. Wilson, J. Sammon
Woman cooks on a range in a pink kitchen. The kitchen is located in the Marina City apartment complex in Chicago, Illinois.
A set of yellow General Electric large appliances are placed inside a house frame. A woman serves coffee to a man in a red hat.
Kitchen image featured in 1973 GE Annual Report. The kitchen includes a microwave oven, yellow appliances, and a side-by-side two-door refrigerator with water dispenser.
1970s advertising photograph for a His and Hers kitchen. Appliances pictured include a dishwasher, side-by-side door refrigerator, cooking surface, and built-in wall oven.
GE advertising image for Coffield Washing Machine, which used a GE washing machine motor. GE originally produced motors used by other appliance companies in their washing machines.
Before 1930, GE provided motors to other washing machine manufacturers.
Ad says "Any women can wash and iron electrically for a few cents a day"
General Electric Model W wringer-type electric washing machine, 1930. GE introduced its first washing machine in 1930 after many years of supplying motors for machines manufactured by other companies.
A woman turns a dial and holds the handle of a pot on a Hotpoint Hughes electric range. GE purchased Hotpoint and Hughes Electric in 1918 and merged them to form the Edison Electric Appliance Company. In the 1920s the company began focusing exclusively on the Hotpoint brand.
Early experimental electric range developed by inventor George Hughes. Hughes founded the Hughes Electric Company. GE purchased Hotpoint and Hughes Electric in 1918 and merged the two companies together.
An early production electric range created by George Hughes. The design is reminiscent of a cast-iron stove of the period.
Type R-1 General Electric range in residence of Mr. Alfred P. Kim, 1916
A woman removes a baking pan from the oven of a c.1925 Hotpoint electric range.
Advertisement for GE 1966 P7 Custom Self-cleaning Oven, Mark 27 range. hi speed with picture window door, automatic rotisserie. GE introduced the first self-cleaning oven, an earlier version of the model P7, in 1963.
Advertising photograph for GE 1977 Hotpoint microwave, sitting on a kitchen counter.
Advertisement for 1978 Spacemaker microwave oven. The microwave was installed above the electric range.
Advertising image for GE's Profile brand. Image shows a white convection range with a mother and daughter baking cookies.
Illuminated electric refrigerator interior where articles of food can readily be located whether room is dark or lighted. Electric refrigeration offered people improved food safety and the ability to store food for longer periods of time.
Photo of Abbe Marcel Audiffren, French monk who designed first electric refrigerator prior to 1895. Second from left is A. Singrun, French manufacturer. A. Myers, left, and James J. Wood, right, Americans who arranged for GE to make Audiffren machine at Ft. Wayne, IN. Photo taken at Epinal, Vosges, France, August 1911. GE manufactured its first Audiffren refrigerator in Fort Wayne in 1911
Photograph of the Audiffren Refrigerator manufactured at General Electric's Fort Wayne Works, GE's first refrigerator in the 1910s.
Advertisement for GE 1926 Model OC-2 Refrigerator with Monitor-top with gray porcelain cabinet doors showing cooling unit and arrangement of food racks. The Model OC-2 could cost as much as $1,000.
GE Refrigerator advertisement highlighting the safety aspect of home refrigeration. This advertisement was created between 1920 and 1925 for the Model OC2 GE refrigerator. Later in the 1920s, GE used the tagline "Making it Safe to be Hungry" in some of its refrigerator advertising.
Advertisement showing pre monitor refrigerator, "Two Market days a week." A boy stands in front of a refrigerator with a basket of food. The ad promotes the GE Model OC-2 refrigerator, the pre-cursor to the Monitor-top refrigerator.
Comedic actor Buster Keaton plays an iceman puzzled by a GE refrigerator
Photo of GE 12 cubic foot 2-door Monitor-top refrigerator cabinet with type DR-3 Icing unit. In 1927, GE engineer Christian Steenstrup developed an improved hermetically sealed refrigerator that simplified manufacturing and lowered the price of the units. The Monitor-top refrigerator became the first commercially successful refrigerator..
Christian Steenstrup of the GE Refrigerator Department with the first commercial Monitor-top refrigerator in his home in Schenectady, NY.
GE improved its refrigerators in 1929, creating a new all-steel version. It also introduced a "small-family" model for a reduced price of $215. The refrigerators could be purchased on credit through an installment plan.
"Making it Safe to be Hungry." with type G-40 all-steel GE electric refrigerator. Opening the treasure chest, March 22, 1929. GE Electric Refrigerator Agency, Erie, PA. The ability to refrigerate food for extended periods helped give rise to supermarkets.
Assembling General Electric Monitor-top refrigerator. Refrigerating machine condenser coil being joined to dome button- old method
Door assembly of GE "Type X" line of refrigerator cabinets. Refrigerator Cabinet Division, Building 18, GE Erie Works.1935
Assembling Bakelite strips on GE "Type X" line of refrigerator cabinets. Refrigerator Cabinet Division , Building 18, GE Erie Works, 1935
GE refrigerator cabinets of type K line being given fine assembly and inspection. Refrigerator Cabinet Division , Building 18, GE Erie Works, 1935
Refrigerator cabinets being given final inspection on end of assembly line. Refrigerator Cabinet Division, Building 18, GE Erie Works, Erie, PA
Advertisement for GE Monitor-top 1927 icing unit refrigerator, unusually large food storage unit, easily installed
Advertising photo highlighting GE's updated Monitor-top Refrigerator line for 1933. It was nicknamed the Monitor-top for its resemblance to the turret from the U.S.S. Monitor.
Butter compartment in door of GE refrigerator cabinet, compartment door open. Developmental.
After the Monitor-top
GE refrigerator cabinet, Type B-10-D. Image highlights the fresh-food refrigerator compartment of two-door refrigerator. In 1947 GE introduced the first refrigerator with a separate freezer door.
Advertisement for 1940 GE refrigerator line, promoting a bigger and better GE refrigerator, with the lowest price and controlled temperature and humidity. Cabinet sizes went up to 16 cubic feet storage capacity.
GE electric refrigerator, type B-10-D, with food load and butter door open. Oblique front view, from right. Photo of model putting butter into conditioner. Development model of first refrigerator with a separate freezer door. GE worked on developing the two-door refrigerator during World War II, but could not manufacture it until after the war ended.
A female model poses with a new 1947 GE two-door refrigerator, the first refrigerator with a separate freezer compartment.
GE designer spray paints a mock-up of a refrigerator door in the General Electric Appearance Design Model Shop
Workroom in the General Electric Appearance Design Model Shop. Designers in the foreground are working on a refrigerator model
Advertising image for cream color 1969 Side-by-Side refrigerator with freezer- water and ice on door. One side is freezer and the other is the refrigerator
Advertising image for 1969 and 1971 GE Side by Side refrigerator. Mother and daughter examine the refrigerators, one is white and the other is gold. Ice and water are available on the door of each model.
Advertising image for 1970's GE Refrigerator, 2 door with ice maker on door with woman and child. comparison shot in the corner of a 1940s-1950s refrigerator with small freezer compartments.
This exhibit was developed in 2017 by miSci, the Museum of Innovation & Science. All photos were scanned from the General Electric Photograph Collection.