General Electric Audio Recordings

Cover Image:
General Electric Audio Recordings
Radio host juggling LPs

Collection Facts

Dates of Original:
c. 1878 - 1985

Historical Context

Since Thomas Edison invented the phonograph in 1877, sound recordings have captured the sounds of the world. General Electric used sound to entertain, promote, and spread information. Radio station WGY, founded by GE in 1922, pioneered many uses of radio, ranging from news and community service programming to music and dramatic entertainment. In the 1920s GE pioneered the use of talking motion pictures and used motion picture film to capture the sounds of radio in 1929 and 1930. In the 1930s WGY used large 12-inch transcription discs to record important radio programs for posterity and switched over to magnetic tape in time to capture its 30th anniversary program in 1952. The GE Research laboratory made use of magnetic tape to document the voices of its founding scientists in the 1950s, and the GE advertising department used records to distribute advertising jingles and speeches to its employees

Scope of Collection

Wide-ranging collection of General Electric-related audio recordings in both theme and formats. Formats range from a recording made on an Edison tinfoil phonograph in 1878 and experimental sound-on-film in 1929 to reel-to-reel and cassette audio programs. Themes include WGY radio programs (including several anniversary programs) from 1929-1984, speeches and programs at the GE Global Research Center (1951-1985), and promotional audio recordings created by GE from the 1930s through the 1970s.