The ELECTRICAL LEAGUE OF NORTHERN OHIO, INC. was the first trade association for the electrical industry in the U.S. Its program was widely copied and it was instrumental in forming the Intl. Assn. of Electrical Leagues in 1935. Organized in 1909, it was incorporated in 1915 as the Electrical League of Cleveland, a nonprofit association of electrical contractors and manufacturers. Its founders included G. E. Miller, sales manager of the CLEVELAND ELECTRIC ILLUMINATING CO. (CEI) and J. Robert Crouse of the National Electric Lamp Assn. (NELA). JESSE (JACK) E. NORTH, president from 1923-49, changed the focus of the league's activities from social activities to direct consumer marketing. North was the director of the residential sales division of CEI and his staff provided support for league operations.
The primary purpose of the league was to promote the products and services of its members and to increase sales of generated electricity by CEI through educating consumers about the uses of electrical equipment, appliances, and services in the home, industrial plant, or commercial building. League headquarters were located in the Hotel Statler until its move in 1930 to the Cleveland Builders Exchange building. There the league maintained an extensive display of electrical products.
The league sponsored electrical industry trade and consumer fairs in Cleveland beginning with the Electrical Exposition in 1914 to exhibit electrical products and services. The Sight Saving Council of Cleveland was founded in 1934 by the league to disseminate information on the preservation of human eyesight, including the importance of adequate lighting in homes, schools, and work places.
The Electrical Maintenance Engineers Assn. (EMEA) was formed by the league in 1924 as a means of generating sales of electrical apparatus to those responsible for purchasing, installing, and maintaining electric lighting and production equipment in industrial and commercial settings.
League publications included The Leaguer newsletter and Electrical Production magazine for EMEA members, as well as consumer pamphlets. The league remained active as a regional trade organization in the 1990s with an office in the Hanna Bldg. and could count among its members architects, contractors, manufacturers and distributors in the electrical industry. In 2000, the League's tradeshow, the Electro Expo, drew nearly 5,000 attendees.