In the 1950s, William H. Sahloff, who ran GE’s housewares division at the time, saw a need to be filled in the American kitchen: the perfect slicing utensil. Sahloff - who had previously conceived of inventions like the electric can opener and the electric toothbrush - brought his idea for an electric carving knife to GE engineers, who spent five years perfecting the invention. After the innovation debuted in the mid-1960s, sliced turkey never looked the same again in many American households.
Before Kurt Vonnegut wrote Slaughterhouse-Five and Breakfast of Champions, he worked in Schenectady, N.Y., chronicling the happenings at GE Global Research. His brother, Bernard, who was a scientist working for GE, got Kurt the job. It was Bernard’s colleague, Nobel Prize-winning scientist Dr. Irving Langmuir who gave Vonnegut the idea for Ice-Nine. The fictional form of ice that stays solid at room temperature appears in Kurt’s fourth novel, Cat’s Cradle.
Elihu Thomson, chief engineer of General Electric in the 1890s, looks through a telescope at his observatory in Swampscott, Mass.
In 1892 Thomson merged his company, the Thomson-Houston Electric Company, with General Electric. He was an early pioneer of electrical engineering but made contributions to many other fields including the design of x-ray tubes. In the 1920s he served as acting president of MIT, where he was remembered by his successor as “one of the first in America to recognize the importance of research, both fundamental and practical, to our industrial progress.”
h/t to SciNerds for bringing this photo to our attention.
Thomas Edison, along with W. K. L. Dickson, is credited with developing the technology that would eventually allow large audiences to view motion pictures. Edison and Dickson developed the kinetographic camera, which was used to make the earliest motion pictures, and the kinetoscope, a device that allowed just one person to view a silent film through a peephole.
Given the limitations of the technology in the late 1800s, how would Edison have reacted to experiencing 3-D in a modern day movie theater? We had web cartoonist Maki Naro give us his best guess. You can see previous comics in this series here.
In the 1960s, railroad engineer Don Wetzel and his colleagues with the now defunct New York Central Railroad decided to build a high-speed train with jet engines they salvaged from an Air Force bomber. They attached the GE J-47-19 engines to the roof of a stock commuter car and dubbed the train the M-497. On July 23, 1966, they set a rail speed record that still stands. GE Reports talked to Wetzel recently about the project.
LEGO virtuoso Aleksander Stein recreated the vehicle with the toy bricks, and we have set it in motion.