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Earliest Members of the Century Association

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Edwin Wilbur Rice Jr.

President, General Electric

Centurion, 1921–1935

Born 6 May 1862 in La Crosse, Wisconsin

Died 25 November 1935 in Schenectady, New York

Buried Pine Grove Cemetery, Lynn, Massachusetts

Proposed by George Alexander and Charles A. Richmond

Elected 3 December 1921 at age fifty-nine

Century Memorial

How large a proportion of our noteworthy industrial executives have risen from the ranks was suggested by the Iron & Steel Institute’s recent computation, that of 176 chief executives in companies of that industry, only 13 had entered the field as officers. Much the same thing has been true, though possibly in a less degree, with the railroad industry. Edwin Wilbur Rice was an instance of the kind in our great utilities. Beginning as assistant to a high electrical expert in the company, his life career was bound up with the General Electric company, for the presidency of which, twenty-five years ago, he was clearly designated by his enlightened development of electrical production, first in what afterward became the company’s affiliates, then in the company itself. Alike in science, industry and education, Rice was a forward-looking man. He was among the pioneers in that development of research laboratories which today has become the distinguishing background of American production. It was through him that mass production was efficiently introduced into electrical manufacture. Possibly Rice will be even better remembered for his work in contriving co-operative work in scientific education between his own manufacturing plant and the practical courses in the colleges.

Alexander Dana Noyes
1936 Century Association Yearbook