Great Electrical Equipment Conspiracy

IN SEPTEMBER 1959, the U.S. Senate began committee hearings into allegations that the largest electrical-equipment makers in the United States were conspiring to fix prices. Among the manufacturers were major providers General Electric, Westing-house, Allis Chalmers, Federal Pacific Electric, and smaller companies including ITE Circuit Breakers, AB Chance, Southern States Electric, and Cutler Hammer.

Since the 1940s, General Electric had feared competition—and had already accrued a long list of violations. In 1950, the company began to work to minimize competition and preserve its share of the market, and the other companies cooperated with the industry leader. General Electric dominated the heavy electrical equipment markets, with a market share of 40 to 45 percent. Westinghouse was next with 30 to 35 percent, and Allis-Chalmers and Federal Pacific ...

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