General Electric announces plans to get out of the appliance business after 101 years, due to the current housing slump. The conglomerate may sell the division outright, or create a strategic partnership or a spin-off to shareholders. Published reports put the appliance division at $7.2 billion in sales, with about 13,000 employees worldwide.
Among other pioneering developments, GE was the first to develop the calrod (right) in 1915, the self-cleaning electric oven in 1963, and electronic controls for cooking appliances in 1967. It began in the 1880s as a spin-off from Thomas Edison's laboratory. It introduced an electric range in 1906, an electric refrigerator in 1917, and an electric dishwasher in 1932, under two major brands, Hotpoint and GE.
Some perspective from Tennessee, site of Appliance Park.