[an error occurred while processing this directive]
3 of 6
BACKNEXT
A bright idea in a financial crisis
A bright idea in a financial crisis
A woman demonstrates a General Electric Toaster, ca. 1920.
Company: General Electric
Ticker: GE
Industry: Energy and other
Founded during: Panic of 1873

Kicking off the Long Depression was the Panic of 1873, which began when major investment firm Jay Cooke & Co. collapsed, causing the NYSE to shut down for days. The ensuing financial crisis lasted six years.

Sound like an ideal time to open a laboratory? That's what Thomas Edison thought as he set up a facility in Menlo Park, N.J., in 1876. There, he produced the first light bulb in 1879 - the same year the panic officially ended. Although economic conditions would remain poor until 1896, Edison had gained enough momentum to start a company he called Edison General Electric Company. In 1896, Edison's GE landed a spot on the first-ever Dow Jones Industrial Average. Today, it is the only remaining company of the original twelve.

Status today: GE posted $183 billion in revenues in 2008, but its earnings were down 19%. Profits from GE's consumer and industrial segment dropped 65% during the year, and GE Capital's profits fell almost 30%. While GE's energy sector saw a modest growth in profits, the company is bracing for a rough 2009.

NEXT: Smooth riding through a panic

Email | Print | Share  |  RSS
 
google my aol my msn my yahoo! netvibes
Paste this link into your favorite RSS desktop reader
See all CNNMoney.com RSS FEEDS (close)
LAST UPDATE: Jun 01 2009 | 12:07 PM ET
Sponsored by
More Galleries
A sampling of beers being made with traditional Latin flavors A small but growing number of craft breweries are including passion fruit, Mexican cinnamon and other traditional Latin flavors. More
Banks won't lend? Use these guys instead Banks often have exhaustive approval processes, high minimums, and flawless credit requirements. But there's a wealth of non-bank alternatives for those who need capital fast. Here are some of the leaders. More
Facebook launched my startup These entrepreneurs relied exclusively on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to jumpstart their small businesses. More

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.