General Cable Historical Highlights

General Cable Corporation was originally incorporated in New Jersey in 1927. At that time it brought together the plant facilities and manufacturing experience of several older companies founded in the 1800s, including Phillips Wire and Safety Cable Company and Standard Underground Cable, founded by George Westinghouse.


Click here to view our History Brochure      
(right-click and select "Save Target As" to download the PDF)


1844
- Supplied the insulated wire to Samuel Morse for his historic communication between Washington and Baltimore.

1882 - Manufactured a 7-conductor line to link the U.S. Capitol with the State, War and Navy Buildings.

1886 - Supplied wire to light the Statue of Liberty twice—first in 1886 and again for the Centennial celebration in 1986. 

1893 - Produced 145 miles of cable for installation under New York City sidewalks and a 3,000 volt cable for the first Chicago World's Fair.

1902 - Alcan Cable, acquired by General Cable in 2012, traces its beginnings back to 1902, soon after Canada’s first aluminum smelter opened in Shawinigan, Quebec.  As the first wire and cable fabricating facility of any consequence in Quebec,  the mill provided the cable to transmit power to the historic Montreal market some 86 miles away.

1904 - NSW, a General Cable Company based in Nordenham, Germany, produced and installed a trans-Atlantic submarine telecommunications cable line connecting Borkum, Germany, via the Azores to New York ― 4,967 conductor miles.

1911 - Prestolite Wire, acquired by General Cable in 2012, was originally founded as Electric Autolite.  A wire and cable division was official established in Port Huron, Michigan, in the 1930 and that was when the Prestolite Brand name first came into use.

1922 - Invented Romex® Brand* non-metallic sheathed cable at the company's Rome, New York, facility.  (*A trademark formerly owned by General Cable, now owned by Southwire Company.)

1927 - After officially incorporating in New Jersey, the Company designed a distinctive identity by which it would be known to its many customers, suppliers, investors and associates. The trademark logo represented three lengths of cable overlaid on one another, with the words “General Cable” on each length. 

1929 - Produced the first 75,000-volt submarine cable in the United States for the Delaware River Crossing. It was manufactured in 4,050-foot lengths – the longest ever without joints. 

1935 - Supplied 100% of the cable for the power transmission line from the Hoover Dam to Los Angeles—1,626 conductor miles.

1942 - Produced a series of wartime posters for the World War II Home-Front Campaign to build morale, to speed production and to encourage economy and conservation of critical materials, which were distributed to the armed forces, government officials and manufacturing plants involved in the war efforts.

1943 - Manufactured 140 miles of hollow tube designed to transport 120 million gallons of diesel fuel between England and France for the D-Day invasion — Code name: "Operation Pluto."  PLUTO stood for Pipe Line Under The Ocean.

1944 - Produced 80% of the battlefield telephone wire used by the Allies and 50% of the Navy's power and communications cable.

1945 - British Insulated Callender's Cables was formed by in two of the earliest cablemaking companies in Britain, which date back to the 1880s.  The company's name was simplified to BICC in 1975.

1961 – Produced the control and communication cable for the first group of Minutemen Missile Bases.

1964 – Adopted a new logo to reinforce and promote the letters “GCC” as the accepted abbreviation for General Cable Corporation.

1967 – Supplied power cable to four THUMS (Texaco, Humble, Union, Mobile and Shell) man-made offshore islands at Long Beach, California, used for drilling and pumping fluid from oil-rich wells back to the mainland.

1969 – Selected a new type style as the new signature for General Cable with a new triad symbol modernized from the 1927 trademark.  The symbol was no longer three lengths of cable, but rather suggested strands of wire being cabled together or tapes or shields being applied to cable core.
 
1970 – Installed the highest underground distribution line at Pikes Peak, Colorado.  Seven miles of cable buried beneath unpaved mountain roads furnishes electrical energy to three installations including a medical research lab atop the 14,110-foot summit.

1971 – Supplied hundreds of miles of power and communications cable to link the control facilities with the launch platforms at Cape Canaveral.

1972 – Manufactured and installed 14 circuit miles of 230kV high-voltage underground transmission cable at the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. 

1976 - Developed, manufactured and installed an optical fiber cable, over one mile in length, at the U.S. Air Force's Arnold Engineering Development Center to provide a high-speed data link connecting rocket engine test sites to a central data process facility.

1977 – Designed, developed and manufactured a 5.6 mile optical fiber cable that GTE installed in California as the world’s first lightwave communications system to provide regular telephone service to the public.

1979 – Changed the Company name to GK Technologies because “General Cable no longer described the high technology Company we are today.”

1981 – Acquired by Penn Central Corporation.

1985 – Supplied the wire and cable to the Marsden Point Oil Refinery located at the entrance to Whangarei Harbour in Northland, New Zealand. 

1986 - Supplied wire to light the Statue of Liberty for the Centennial celebration.

1990 – Acquired the Carol Cable Company and the industry leading Carol® Brand cord, cordset and automotive product lines.

1991 – Supplied medium-voltage aluminum cable and armored cable for power, control and signaling applications for the AVE high-speed railway system connecting Madrid to Seville, Spain. 

1992 – Supplied the wire and cable to build the infrastructure for the Barcelona Olympic Games and the Seville World’s Fair.
 
1994 – Acquired by Wassall PLC, a British Holding Company.

1995 – Supplied all of the electrical and communications cable for the National Museum of New Zealand. Te Papa Tongarewa, located in downtown Wellington, is one of the most prominent and architecturally stunning buildings in New Zealand and one of the largest museums in the world.

1996 - Supplied wire and cable to the Olympic Stadium for the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia. 
 
1997 - Began public trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Friday, May 16th.

1998 – Produced a hybrid copper and fiber optic cable to provide electricity and communications to the guard station at the top of Mount Rushmore. The cable jacket was custom designed for long-term outdoor survival in the rugged South Dakota weather and its pinkish tan color blends in with the environment.

1999 - Acquired BICC Energy Cables which provided access to new markets and businesses.  The Company changed its name to BICCGeneral and added Anaconda®, BICC® and Brand Rex Brands to it product line. 

2000 - Supplied on-board fiber optic cable for the ongoing requirements and maintenance of the International Space Station program.

2001 - Rallied production and distribution efforts to respond to the immediate need for portable power cable, critical to the rescue and recovery efforts at the World Trade Center, as well as energy cable, to restore power to New York City after the September 11th terrorist attack.

2002 - Supplied the portable power cable for the 2002 Winter Olympic games in Salt Lake City, Utah, to distribute power to environmentally-friendly diesel generators used for the television coverage in remote areas where critical power was not available.

2003 –Wired the Great American Ball Park — Home of the Cincinnati Reds, baseball’s oldest professional team — to provide data and voice transmission services.

2004 –Provided a powerful communications network, using Blolite™ blown optical fiber technology to enable the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center to tell its story with pride, speed and worldwide reach.

2005 – General Cable acquired Silec, a $250-million leading energy and industrial business in France with a global position in turnkey design and energy services, Helix/HiTemp, a $30-million U.S. manufacturer of high-end enterprise network products, as well as BERU S.A., a Cuernavaca, Mexico business with a strategic location for future growth initiatives in the country’s expanding automotive aftermarket that now goes to market as General Cable Automotriz.

2006 - Acquired E.C.N. Cable, a Spanish manufacturer of transmission and power cables with sales of approximately $72 million.

2007 – Acquired NSW, a global offshore submarine cable supplier and installer in Germany and acquired Phelps Dodge International Corporation (PDIC), a $1.2 billion wire and cable manufacturer with leading market positions in Latin America, Africa and Southeast Asia and businesses in India and China. 

2008 - Acquired majority ownership of joint ventures in Algeria and the Philippines, with each business delivering more than $100 million in annual revenues.

2009 - Earned recognition by Fortune Magazine as one of the Largest U.S. Corporations and acquired Gepco, a manufacturer and provider of high-end cabling solutions for the professional broadcast and entertainment markets. 

2010 – Won a significant high-voltage offshore wind project in the Baltic Sea valued at 195 million euros or $270 million; acquired Phoenix Power Cables in South Africa, Beru SAS, an industrial harnesses business in France and BICC Egypt; formed a joint venture in Oman; made an equity investment in Pakistan Cables: and built a new plant in Peru.

2011 ― Completed a new Greenfield plant in Baddi, India, that is fully compliant with Indian Green Building Council Standards.  Designed to be “green” from the ground up, it immediately delivered energy savings of 30-40% and water savings of 20-30%, as compared with other wire and cable operations of the same size that make similar products.  We also embarked upon sharing our journey and commitment to corporate social responsibility (CSR) with our stakeholders through our new CSR Web site, www.generalcablecsr.com.

2012 ― Acquired Delphia Produtos Eletricos, a leading manufacturer of automotive ignition wire harnesses sold into the Brazilian market to expand its transportation and industrial harnesses business into South America; acquired Alcan Cable North America, a leading manufacturer of aluminum cable servicing the energy and construction markets in the United States, Canada, Mexico and China; acquired majority interest in Procables of Colombia, further expanding our market position in Latin America; and acquired Prestolite Wire, which offers a broad range of wire and cable products serving predominately transportation original equipment manufacturers (OEM) and distributors.

2013 ― Introduced the global Wired as One Values program to unite all General Cable employees worldwide through a common set of value-based principles that define the behaviors of everyone in the company’s performance-driven culture.