Fullerton College: A Pictorial History

This is a closer shot of Leo Fender from the Torch yearbook. Because of a childhood tumor, Fender lost his left eye at the age of eight, and he was very sensitive about having his photograph taken. After leaving FJC, Fender and his wife moved to San Luis Obispo in 1935, where he sought stable work as an accountant for the California Highway Department, then later was employed by the privately-owned U.S. Tire Company. After losing his job in 1938, Fender returned to Fullerton where he would establish businesses at eight different locations throughout the city. Using his Ford Model A as collateral, Fender opened his first business, a radio repair service, in 1938, renting shared space at the Golden Eagle Service Station located on the northwest corner of Spadra (now Harbor Boulevard) and Santa Fe Avenue in downtown Fullerton. Initially, he went house to house looking for work, but after building a reputation for reliable quality workmanship, his business soon picked up, and he moved a few doors away in 1940 to 112 South Harbor Boulevard, where he installed car radios and designed, repaired, and rebuilt radios, record changers, and public address systems. Following World War II, Fender moved across the street to 107 South Harbor Boulevard where he began manufacturing his first line of electric guitars, Hawaiian lap steel guitars, and electrified his first solid-body guitar.
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