George Francis Morrison (1867–1943), was an American business
executive, industrialist, Edison Pioneer, and a Director and Vice
President of General Electric Company. He was one of Thomas Edison's
closest associates and a pioneer in the production of the incandescent
lamp, having held a number of patents including that of filament
manufacture. Towards the latter part of his decades-long career,
Morrison traveled the world introducing the lamp and promoting its
1 Early life
5 See also
George Francis Morrison was born on February 22, 1867 in Wellsville,
New York. His father William Morrison was born in County Clare,
Ireland and worked as a teamster. His mother Susan Maguire was also
from Ireland. The Morrisons initially settled in Harrison, New Jersey,
where George's three older sisters Elizabeth, Mary Ann, and Margaret
were born. William moved the family to the Wellsville area before
George was born, most likely because of the perceived fortunes
promised by the nascent crude oil industry in western New York. After
ten years and the marriages of George's sisters Mary Ann and
Elizabeth, the family returned to Harrison.
George in the GE research laboratory with Dr.
Irving Langmuir and
Thomas Edison examining a vacuum tube.
Morrison began his career in the summer of 1882 at Edison Lamp Works
in Harrison when he was 15 years old. He was hired to unwrap and
smooth tissue paper from incandescent light bulbs that arrived from
Corning Glass Works in
Corning, New York
Corning, New York so that they could be
reused in packaging finished lamps. He was paid one and two-thirds
cents per hour, equating to only one dollar per week if he worked
sixty hours. He continued to perform other basic tasks at the plant
but did them very well, which did not go unnoticed and created
opportunities for advancement. A graduate of New Jersey Business
College in Newark, Morrison was soon promoted to foreman and became
Thomas Edison in his experimental lamp testing
department. After a few more promotions, Morrison then took charge of
the instrument standardization department and eventually became the
general foremen of the plant. He was promoted again to Plant
Superintendent and then became the General Manager of all of GE's
plants by 1903. In January 1917, Morrison was elected as a Vice
General Electric Company
General Electric Company (GE) and in February 1918 he
became one of the original members of the Association of Edison
Several innovations during this time, such as the development of
tungsten filaments, allowed brighter and longer-lasting bulbs, with
production steadily increasing throughout the ensuing years.
Morrison was instrumental in the expansion of GE's lamp business and
took a leading role in establishing strong relationships with other
lamp manufacturers, both domestically and abroad, which ultimately led
to standardization within the industry. He was known for having good
judgement and being able to see both sides of an issue and arrive to
accurate conclusions. He was said to have never made an enemy
throughout his career and became close personal friends with all of
his business associates.
As an executive, Morrison ensured the management and enforcement of
GE's patents. On April 28, 1926 Morrison wrote to Gerard Swope,
president of GE at the time, to bring attention to the early
expiration of three vital patents covering the tungsten lamp, upon
which GE's market share virtually completely rested. Morrison went on
to acknowledge that cross-patent licensing agreements with
Westinghouse, GE's largest lamp manufacturing competitor, was
essential to prevent other competitors from gaining share of General
Towards the latter part of his career, Morrison began traveling around
the world looking after GE's foreign interests, as well as to
introduce and promote the incandescent lamp. Among the countries he
visited were England, France, Russia, Japan, and China. He met Joseph
Stalin in Russia, and after introducing the lamp in Japan, Emperor
Taishō bestowed upon him the Order of the Rising Sun.
Morrison was also the chairman of the board of directors of the
Sprague Electric Company and a director of the Intertype
Corporation. He served on the board of directors of both General
Electric and International General Electric from 1922 to 1942 and was
honorary Vice President at the time of his death in 1943.
George F. Morrison
George F. Morrison with
Thomas Edison and associates. From left to
Edwin W. Rice Jr., W.L.R. Emmet, Thomas A. Edison, George F.
Morrison, Charles P. Steinmetz, and H.F.T. Erben
George and his wife Jennie had seven children, Blanche, Jennie, Flora,
Beatrice, Georgina, George Jr., and Franklin. He assisted his
brother-in-law John Graves, his sister Mary Ann's husband, in
obtaining a trucking license in New Jersey after moving to Harrison
from Wellsville. Graves eventually built a trucking business called
Graves Trucking that maintained a number of large accounts, including
that of RCA Corporation. George also did his best to secure jobs for
his unemployed family members during the Great Depression. In one
instance, he found his niece Dorothy Graves O'Brien a job at the
Edison Lamp Works carrying trays of light bulbs from one work station
Morrison was the uncle of western film legend George "Gabby" Hayes,
the son of his older sister Elizabeth Morrison and Clark Hayes.
Morrison's daughter Georgina was the second wife of William C.
Krueger, president of
Gottfried Krueger Brewing Company and son of its
founder, Gottfried Krueger.
Morrison died on October 21, 1943 in his home in East Orange, New
Jersey at the age of 76.
^ a b John Winthrop Hammond (1941). Men and Volts, the Story of
General Electric. J. B. Lippincott Company. pp. 43,173,228.
^ Electric Club, Westinghouse Club, "The Electric journal, Volume 14"
^ "Three Striking Personalities Prominent at Present" (PDF). The Sun.
New York. February 3, 1918. Retrieved February 17, 2011.
George F. Morrison
George F. Morrison (October 1922). "A Review of the Report of the
Lamp Committee of the National Electric Light Association". General
Electric Review. XXV (10): 588–591.
^ George Ward Stocking, Myron Webster Watkins. "Cartels in Action,
Case Studies in International Business Diplomacy",
^ "G.E. Vice President Started Work for One Dollar a Week" (PDF).
Schenectady Gazette. New York. February 21, 1924. Retrieved February
^ "George Morrison, Helped T.A. Edison". New York Times. New York.
October 22, 1943. access-date= requires url= (help)
^ Frank H. Lancaster, Ernest F. Birmingham, "The Fourth estate: a
weekly newspaper for advertisers and newspaper makers", 1920, 
^ a b "George F. Morrison". Power plant engineering. Volume 47.
Technical Publishing Company. 1943. p. 164.
^ William Starr Myers (2000). Prominent Families of New Jersey.
Genealogical Publishing Company. p. 362.
^ "George Morrison, Helped T. A. Edison; General Electric Aide, Former
Associate of the Inventor in Lamp Testing, Dies at 76". New York
Times. October 22, 1943. Retrieved February 17, 2011.
Thomas A. Edison
Thomas A. Edison Visits Steinmetz 1922 Part 1 on YouTube, Morrison is
seen throughout this early film and is identified at 1:23.
Thomas Edison in Schenectady - 1922 on YouTube, Morrison can be seen