Our History

 

North Coast Electric was founded by Harry Byrne in 1913. Mr. Byrne entered the electrical business in 1892 when he became anapprentice. In 1899 he went to Chicago where he was employed by Western Electric Company and in 1901 he managed their Milwaukee, Wisconsin office. In 1903 he became the district manager for both Bullock Electric Manufacturing Company and Wagner Electric Manufacturing Company in Cincinnati and St. Louis. In 1904, the Bullock Company was absorbed by the Allis-Chalmers Company of Milwaukee and Mr. Byrne was transferred to New York. He was a special representative and had the opportunity to travel extensively in the United States and Europe. His travels broadened his experience in the electrical field.

By 1918 North Coast Electric had grown to three locations: Seattle, Tacoma, and Portland and by 1922 added Spokane. When you thumb through our 1922 North Coast Electric product catalog you can’t help but conclude that the early electrical industry was like striking gold!

It took off in such a few short years but was well organized. NCE opened its doors in 1913 and in just three short years, grew to the size it would take to print a 752 page hard back catalog. It included every electrical item known to the industry. Bear in mind the warehouse had every item in this book. It all had to be shipped from the east by slow ship or train, then organized in the warehouse, and out to the customer! NCE has stayed true to its core products but in 1922 sold some interesting items and some even considered luxury.

In 1974 when the Lemman family purchased NCE, there were 3 locations and 70 associates. Today with 32 locations and 577 associates, NCE is the largest independent family owned and locally operated electrical distributor in the West.

 


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