Fender Radio Service Record Early Leo Fender Probably 1940s Vintage
August 17, 2017
August 20, 2017
Click to enlarge
Leo Fender experimented with a direct-to-disc machine, probably in the early 1940s. He may have planned to hire himself out to do location recordings, as blanks with the name of his shop were prepared. One of the discs he made is on display at the Fender Museum in Corona, California. The example on offer contains pop songs by an unknown female vocalist, backed by a piano. Very little seems to be known about this experiment.
The 10" disc is on thin, coated cardboard, somewhat similar in concept to records that were pressed onto cereal boxes in the 1960s and 1970s. It is in generally good condition, although not play graded, as it should be handled with care. There was cloth adhesive tape on both sides that the previous owner removed, leaving tiny bits of residue. The disc also has a light dish warp that can probably be flattened out. This is obviously more of a rare object than a record to be played to any extent.
I thought that the black streaks on both sides of the record were made by a marker, but I now believe that they are stringy bits of material that got into the vat before the coating was pressed onto the cardboard. See photos.
The record's real value is as an extremely rare artifact of Leo Fender's early career. It has his first address at 107 S. Spadra in Fullerton. Also note that if you would like to dial the shop: Phone 6!