General Electric
A man dwarfed by gigantic gears at a General Electric plant in 1942.Dmitri Kessel
General Electric
FORTUNE COLOR MARCH 1942
FORTUNE COLOR MARCH 1942
FORTUNE COLOR MARCH 1942
FORTUNE COLOR MARCH 1942
FORTUNE COLOR MARCH 1942
FORTUNE COLOR MARCH 1942
FORTUNE COLOR MARCH 1942
A man dwarfed by gigantic gears at a General Electric plant in 1942.
Dmitri Kessel
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Fortune 500 Photo Archives: General Electric

May 05, 2017

In 1955, Fortune published its first-ever list of the 500 biggest industrial corporations in the U.S., ranked by annual sales. Coming in at number four was General Electric, the industrial conglomerate founded by Thomas Edison in 1892.

The Fortune 500 is now a 62-year-old institution, and GE has been near the top of the list every year. It even held its ground when the 500 expanded to include service industries in 1994; in 2016 it's ranked number 11. Originally known for its lighting products, and later for its foray into financial services, GE is in the middle of a long refocusing effort. Led by CEO Jeff Immelt since 2001, GE is now putting a bigger emphasis on products like aircraft engines and wind turbines. In one notable recent project, the company teamed up with energy firm Deepwater Wind to create the first U.S. off-shore wind farm, off the coast of Rhode Island.

Fortune has been covering the company since the magazine's earliest days in the 1930s. GE (ge) has been photographed by great Fortune photographers like Dmitri Kessel. The company also maintains a terrific photo archive of its own, and many pictures from its collection have appeared in our pages.

Take a look at some of the amazing Kessel photos we dug out of our archives.

The Fortune 500 Photo Archives is a part of a series published every Friday through June 7th leading up to the Fortune 500. See more companies from our archives here. For more Fortune photography, follow us at @fortunephotodept on Instagram.

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