GE begins (1876)

1876 Thomas Edison opens laboratory at Menlo Park

1879 Elihu Thomson and E. J. Houston form Thomson-Houston

1880 Edison gains patent for carbon filament incandescent lamp
1882 BF Keith founds Keith (later Keith-Albee-Orpheum) vaudeville chain

1883 Thomson-Houston founded

1883 Emil Rathenau licences Edison's electrical patents, founds Allgemeine Elektrizitäts Gesellschaft (AEG)

1885 American Telephone and Telegraph (AT&T) founded

1890 Edison established incandescent lamp factory

1890 Edison forms Edison General Electric Company

1890 Tokyo Incandescent Lamp & Bulb Manufacturing founded

1892 General Electric (GE) formed through merger of Edison General Electric & Thomson-Houston Electric

1893 Shibaura Engineering Works (Shibaura Seisakusho) founded

1893 Compagnie Francaise Thomson-Houston formed in Paris

1899 United Fruit Company founded, with est 75% of US banana market

1899 Western Electric establishes Nippon Electric

1899 Tokyo Incandescent Lamp becomes Tokyo Electric Corp

1900 GE establishes laboratory at Schenectady

1901 Victor Talking Machine Co formed through merger of Berliner Gramophone Co and Johnson's Consolidated Talking
Machine Co
1903 GE absorbs Stanley Electric Co

1904 Shibaura goes public

1905 GE forms Electric Bond & Share to finance power utility development, later becomes major electricity and gas utility holding

1905 gains 51% of Tokyo Electric

1909 Shibaura forms alliance with GE

1911 divests general engineering operations to Tokyo Ishikawajima Shipbuilding

1915 Cushman & Wakefield founded

1915 General Tire & Rubber Company founded by William O'Neill

1917 US Navy buys American Marconi's US shore and ship radio network

1918 Albert Hull invents magnetron

1919 Radio Corporation of America (RCA) incorporated to control US patents of General Electric, AT&T, Westinghouse, United

1919 RCA acquires British Marconi's controlling interest in American Marconi

1919 GE offshore operations bundled under International General Electric Company

1919 David Sarnoff becomes General Manager of RCA

1922 AT&T establishes radio station in New York (later WEAF) and forms Broadcasting Corporation of America
1924 GE distributes EBASCO stock to its shareholders
1925 speculator Joseph Kennedy forms Film Booking Office (FBO)

1926 AT&T sells Broadcasting Corporation of America (inc radio stations WEAF and WCAP) to RCA
1927 RCA buys stake in FBO, Kennedy takes stake in Keith-Albee-Orpheum (KAO) cinema chain

1926 NBC established by RCA (50%), GE (30%), Westinghouse (20%)

1926 NBC radio network launched

1927 Radio Act

1928 RCA divides affiliates into NBC-Red and NBC-Blue networks

1928 first regular schedule of US television programming begun by RCA in Schenectady (broadcasts Tuesday, Thursday, and
Friday from 1:30 to 3:30 pm)

1929 RCA buys Victor Talking Machine for US$154m

1929 Owen Young heads committee responsible for Young Plan

1929 GE buys 16.66% of Osram for US$8.8m

1929 increases stake in AEG to 25%
1929 RCA merges film interests with FBO and KAO to form Radio Keith Orpheum (RKO) production, distribution and exhibition

1930 GE Plastics department created
1930 RKO absorbs Pathe Exchange

1930 Justice Dept launches antitrust action against 'radio trust'

1931 NBC puts TV transmitter atop Empire State Building

1931 buys WMAQ Chicago

1932  GE Credit Corporation created to help finance consumer purchases

1932 RCA demonstrates all-electronic television system

1932 NBC buys KNBC San Francisco

1932 General Electric and Westinghouse sell RCA

1932 NBC and CBS allow prices to be mentioned in radio commercials

1934 Federal Communications Commission replaces Federal Radio Commission

1935 RCA abandons support for Armstrong's FM development

1935 Public Utility Holding Co Act

1938 first telecast of unscheduled fire, on NBC's W2XBT

1938 Supreme Court affirms Holding Co Act in Electric Bond & Share v SEC, GE subsequently sells down utilities holdings

1939 Tokyo Electric and Shibaura merge as Tokyo Shibaura Electric (later Toshiba)

1941 Federal Communications Commission Report on Chain Broadcasting recommends that RCA dispose of one of its

1941 US shares in Tokyo Shibaura confiscated by Japanese government

1941 NBC buys radio KYW Cleveland

1942 General Tire & Rubber buys radio WEZE Boston

1942 buys radio WEAN Providence

1943 RCA sells 'Blue' network (later ABC) to Edward Noble for US$8m

1943 Electric Bond & Share sells Idaho Power Co

1948 controlling stake in RKO sold to Howard Hughes

1949 General Tire & Rubber buys WOR New York

1950 NBC launches Today show and The Adventures of Superman (faster than a speeding bullet, able to leap tall buildings etc)

1950 General Tire & Rubber buys radio KHJ Los Angeles

1953 General Tire & Rubber sells radio WEZE Boston to Vic Diehm Associates

1954 sells buys radio WEAN Providence to Providence Journal Co.

1955 NBC sells KYW Cleveland to Westinghouse

1955 NBC president David Sarnoff says "Television will never be a medium of entertainment"
1955 Hughes splits RKO into RKO Pictures (sold to General Tire & Rubber's General Teleradio for US$25m) and RKO Theatres

1957 NBC buys WJAS Pittsburgh

1957 Henry Griffing's VuMore cable tv trial in Bartlesville, Oklahoma

1960 conglomerate H&B American Corp buys Jerrold cable tv systems for US$5m

1961 General Tire & Rubber buys VuMore cable tv group

RCA as a conglomerate

1965 RCA buys Random House

1967 RCA buys Hertz Rent-a-Car

1969 buys Cushman & Wakefield

1970 buys FM Stamper, renamed Banquet Foods

1973 buys Ballantine Books

1976 sells Cushman & Wakefield to Rockefeller Group

1976 GE buys Utah International mining and civil engineering group for US$2.7bn

1980 RCA sells Random House to Advance

1980 sells Banquet Foods to ConAgra

1980 RCA buys CIT financial group

1982 RCA sells Gibson Greeting Cards to Wesray for US$80m

1982 Thomson nationalised by French government

1983 Wesray sells Gibson for US$290m

1983 GE sells Utah International to Australia's BHP for US$2.4bn

1984 RCA sells CIT to Manufacturers Hanover Bank for US$1.5bn

1985 Disney makes unsuccessful bid for NBC

1985 GE buys RCA for US$6.3bn, primarily to acquire NBC

1985 GE sells Hertz to UAL for US$587m

1985 launches GEnie online information services

1986 RCA-Victor (RCA's music arm) sold to Bertelsmann

1986 GE buys Kidder Peabody for US$600m

1986 sells KYUU FM (now KXXX) in San Francisco, WKQX FM in Chicago, WJIB FM in Boston and two other radio stations to

1987 Thomson buys RCA consumer electronics operations

1987 RKO General spun off by GenCorp, renamed RKO Pictures

1988 NBC radio stations sold to Infinity, Westwood and Group W

1988 GE buys Borg-Warner Chemicals

1994 GE sells Kidder Peabody to Paine Webber for US$670m (inc 25% stake)

1996 Thomson privatised as Thomson-CSF (later Thales) and Thomson Multimedia

1996 GE buys Agrobanka, major Czech bank

1996 sells GEnie online service to IDT  

1997 NBC forms CNBC business television alliance with Dow Jones

1998 GE sells 3% of Paine Webber for US$400m

1999 NBC takes 32% of Paxson for US$415m

2000 Thomson Multimedia buys Technicolor from Carlton

2000 GE sells remaining Paine Webber stake to UBS for US$1.5bn

2001 Tyco buys CIT for US$9.5bn

2001 GE buys European Bank for Reconstruction & Development stake in Budapest Bank

2001 buys Security Capital for US$4bn

2001 buys Heller Financial (commercial and real estate finance, equipment leasing) for US$5.3bn

2001 buys Franchise Finance Corporation of America for US$2.1bn

2001 sells GE American Communications (GE Americom) to Société Européene des Satellites (SES)( for US$5bn

2001 European Commission forbids GE US$42bn takeover of Honeywell

2002 NBC buys Telemundo for US$2.7bn from Sony and Liberty Media

2002 NBC buys Cablevision-controlled Bravo cable tv channel for US$1.25bn

2003 Vivendi combines US film studios, theme parks and cable tv channels with NBC

2003 GE sells Japanese life insurance operation and US auto and home insurance operations to AIG for US$2.6bn

2003 buys Transamerica Finance from Aegon for US$4.8bn

2003 sells Financial Guaranty Insurance (bond insurance operations) to PMI for US$1.9bn

2003 GE buys Instrumentarium

2003 GE buys Amersham for US$9.5bn

2003 GE buys equipment leasing arm of Ikon Office Solutions for US$1.5bn

2004 spins off mortgage and life insurance operations to Genworth

2004 sells 60% of back-office unit in India to General Atlantic Partners and Oak Hill Capital Partners for US$500m

2004 buys water treatment company Ionics for US$1.3bn

2004 buys Citigroup transportation leasing unit for US$4.4bn

2005 NBC Universal pays US$3.4bn for IAC/InteractiveCorp's 5.4% stake in Vivendi Universal Entertainment

2005 NBC Universal announces deal to acquire majority control of MSNBC from Microsoft

2006 NBC Universal agrees to buy iVillage for around US$600m

2006 agrees to sell four NBC television stations (WNCN Raleigh, Columbus, Birmingham and Providence) to MediaGeneral for
American Communications Corporations
(relevant to the SR-III)
Key Dates
GE established 1876
RCA established (1919)
(by GE, ATT, Westinghouse, others).
GE sells RCA (1932)
GE buys back RCA in 1985.
Thompson buys GE Consumer line (1987).