Fullerton College: A Pictorial History

This is the freshman class of 1929. The male student on the far left in the second row is the most influential student to ever attend the college: guitar legend Clarence Leonidas (“Leo”) Fender (1909-1991), the inventor of the first solid-body electric guitar to be mass-produced. The electrified guitar revolutionized popular music, particularly rock and roll. Contrary to popular opinion, Fender received no formal training in electrical engineering, studying instead bookkeeping and accounting. While at the college, he performed repair services for fellow students’ electrical equipment. It is difficult to overstate Fender’s impact on the music and recording industries. One of the greatest and most prolific industrial designers of the twentieth century, he helped to alter the look, the sound, and the personality of American music. He claims a spot not only in the history of technology and industrial design, but also popular culture in the twentieth century. Various racial, ethnic, and cultural groups have used Fender’s instruments to create and shape new musical sounds that influenced American society, culture, and politics.