​Who was the first engineer at GE Appliances credited with 100 patents?

May 22nd 2023

GEA Logo on blue background

Meet John Bochan.

In 1978, he was considered Appliance Park’s “premier inventor” who was the first GE Appliances employee and inventor outside of the Corporate Research & Development Center to have 100 patents credited to his name. His personal philosophy was to “do everything the best I know how,” he said in an interview in a publication called Park People.

A native of New Hampshire, Bochan joined GE in Bridgeport, CT as an engineering designer. Bridgeport was a key location for the small appliances business. When Appliance Park opened, Bochan and his wife and son moved to Louisville where he began his career as a design engineer.

Patent journey begins in Louisville

Bochan’s first patent was issued by the U.S. Patent office in 1953. Some of his best-known patents have gone on to be used for 40-plus years such as the Filter Flo washer recirculating system that was used on washer designs in AP1 until 1994.

Bochan’s satisfaction was in driving practical solutions that made technology better for consumers. His patents . . . “are all rewarding in that mine have been useful to people.” He went on to say that seeing his invention in use as . . . “that’s the real reward.”

Famous companions

In 1978, Bochan’s portrait was hung in a gallery of 14 other GE inventors who also had 100 patents to their credit. Among those inventors on the wall keeping Bochan’s company was famed GE founder and inventor Thomas Edison and Elihu Thomson, who had invented technology such as generators, electric welding machines and x-ray tubes.

Advice for the ages

“You’ve got to be innovative and know how things work,” said Bochan in his Park People interview. “There’s no course you can take to teach you innovation.” He added, “it’s terribly difficult for me to understand why people don’t want to find out the how and why something does what it does.”

Bochan leans against a washing machine as he smiles in front of a GE sign