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Leo Fender & George Fullerton introduces Broadcaster – Telecaster 1950

September 1, 2008 by · 3 Comments 



Leo Fender & George Fullerton Broadcaster / Telecaster 1950The 20th century will be remembered as an age of technology. And the electric guitar has been one of the most benign technologies to emerge from our troubled outgoing century. Like the innovations of Thomas Edison or Henry Ford, the electric guitar is a great populist invention. For the most part, it wasn’t dreamed up by people with college degrees in design engineering but by hard-traveling musicians and practical-minded businessmen clawing their way out of the Great Depression.

One of the greatest of these pragmatic mid-century geniuses was Clarence Leo Fender. Born on a farm near Anaheim, California in 1909, Leo Fender was operating his own radio repair shop in nearby Fullerton by the mid Forties. Thanks to the post-WWII economic boom, this was an era of great prosperity, marked by exciting new inventions like television, a middle-class migration out to the suburbs and the birth of sleek new design aesthetic that was streamlining everything from home furnishings to automobiles to electric shavers and hair dryers. Opportunities were plentiful for entrepreneurs and inventors of every stripe, which suited Leo Fender just fine.

Circa 1943, Fender built a very simple solidbody electric guitar that he’d rent out from his shop. (Fender Radio Repair also rented P.A. systems and even a panel van with speakers mounted on top to advertise local events!) In a garage out back, Leo began making lap steel guitars under K&F brand name in partnership with Doc Kauffman, another bailed out of the business in 1946, Leo continued on his own, starting Fender Electric Instruments in 1948. One of the first people he hired was George Fullerton, who became his assistant and lifelong business associate. Read more

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