Edwin W. Rice, Jr.

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Edwin Wilbur Rice, Jr.

Birthplace: La Crosse, WI, United States
Death: 1935 (72-73)
Schenectady, NY, United States
Place of Burial: Schenectady, NY, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Edwin Wilbur Rice Sr and Margaret G Rice
Husband of Alice Mabel Rice and Helen Katherine Rice
Father of Edward Thomson Rice; Chester Williams Rice and Mabel Rice

Managed by: Peter Case
Last Updated:

About Edwin W. Rice, Jr.

Edwin Wilbur Rice, Jr. (La Crosse, Wisconsin, 6 May 1862 - Schenectady, New York, 25 November 1935) was a president and considered one of the three fathers of General Electric.



Edwin Wilbur Rice, Jr. (La Crosse, Wisconsin, 6 May 1862 - Schenectady, New York, 25 November 1935) was a president and considered one of the three fathers of General Electric (along with Elihu Thomson and Charles A. Coffin).

He attended the Boys' Central High School in Philadelphia and was a student of Elihu Thomson. Rice graduated in 1880 and considered going to Yale but decided to join Thomson in New Britain, Connecticut, at the American Electric Company as Thomson's assistant at $30 a month.

In 1883 he continued with Thomson, and moved from New Britain to Lynn, Massachusetts to work for the newly formed Thomson-Houston Electric Company. There he worked on converting Thomson's inventions into manufactured products. In 1885 he became the factory superintendent when John Meech moved to Europe to head up Thomson-Houston International. Under Rice the Lynn factory grew from almost nothing in 1883 to an enterprise with $10 million in sales and 4,000 employees in 1892. Primary products included arc light systems, electrical generators, dynamos, meters, transformers, and electric motors. By 1892 the primary products were electric trolley car systems and the company had built over 2700 electric trolley cars and 870 electric generator stations. The entire factory reported to Rice and in 1890 supervisors who reported to him included D.M Barton - Production Manager, I.F.Baker - Mechanical Superintendent, G.E.Emmons - Factory Auditor, W.H.Knight - Chef Electrical Engineer, and A.I.Rohrer - Chef Assistant.

In 1892 General Electric Company was created after a merger with Edison General Electric. Rice was originally its technical director. He became, in 1896, vice president in charge of manufacturing and engineering, and eventually senior vice president. In 1913 he was chosen president of the company replacing Charles A. Coffin who moved on to be the Chairman of the Board of GE. When Rice retired in 1922 was made honorary chairman of the board.

Rice was elected president in 1917 of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers (AIEE).

In 1931 the AIEE awarded him the Edison Medal For his contributions to the development of electrical systems and his encouragement of scientific research in industry.

In Philadelphia, he came in contact with Professor Elihu Thomson, then a teacher in Boys' Central School,His natural fondness for mechanics and later for electricity was quickly develped by this association and when in 1880 the professor gave up teaching to go into electical manufacturing as scientist and inventor, young Rice gladly accepted an opportunity to become his assistant. At the age of 22 he was made plant superintendent and had this full responsibilty until the consolidation of Thomson Houston and Edison General Electric in 1892 to form the present General Electric company. In the New Company Mr. Rice was mad technical director,k and 1896 vice president in charge of manufacturing and engineering. He is considered one of the three fathers of General Electric (alon with Tomson and Charles A. Coffin)

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Edwin W. Rice, Jr.'s Timeline

La Crosse, WI, United States
December 26, 1886
Lynn, MA, United States
December 16, 1888
Lynn, MA, United States
Age 73
Schenectady, NY, United States
Schenectady, NY, United States