Associated Electrical Industries (A.E.I.) originated in 1929. The company began as a financial holding company for a number of leading electrical manufacturing and trading companies in the UK. These included British Thomson-Houston (BTH), Metropolitan-Vickers, Edison Swan, Ferguson Pailin and Hotpoint Electric Heating Co.
The Second World War was economically beneficial for A.E.I. The company’s engineering products assisted the government’s military projects during the 1930s. Significant contributions to the war effort included automatic pilots for aircraft, radar, guns and gun mountings. A.E.I.’s greatest work during the war years was its manufacture of the Manchester, Lancaster and Lincoln bomber aircraft.
As the diversity and extent of A.E.I.’s products expanded after the War, the company was joined by Sunvic Controls (1949), Birlec (1954), Siemens Brothers (1955), W.T. Henley (1958) and London Electric Wire Co. & Smiths (1958).
In 1959 A.E.I became a trading company and the A.E.I. Symbol began to replace the brand names and trademarks of companies within the group. In 1966 A.E.I. had 95,000 employees staffing 67 factories in all five continents and had an annual turnover exceeding £250 million.
In 1967 A.E.I. was acquired by GEC (General Electric Company) to create the largest electrical group in the UK.