Collection: CRL | Guitar Parts Available at ToneShapers

Logo CRL

Central Radio Laboratories (later Centralab) was founded in 1922 to develop and manufacture radio equipment. Central Radio was purchased in 1925 by another Milwaukee radio manufacturer, Globe Electric. Globe Electric had recently come under the control of a guy named Chester Wanvig, who had another company that sold batteries (Union Battery), and in 1929 the assets of the two companies were combined to form the Globe-Union Manufacturing Company.

One of Centralabs' employees was Nobel Laureate Jack Kilby, inventor of the integrated circuit (microchip). He worked at Centralab from the late 1940s to the late 1950s, but the IC was invented almost immediately upon his departure in 1958 to Texas Instruments.

By 1938, when one Clarence L. Fender opened Fender's Radio Service in Fullerton, California, Globe-Union marketing materials contained both the CRL (Central Radio Laboratories) diamond logo and the Centralab logo, so these brands would have been on the radar of young Leo, who had been tinkering with radios since the early 1920s.

When the Broadcaster was introduced in 1950, it sported a CRL pickup selector, as did every subsequent Broadcaster, Nocaster, Telecaster, and Stratocaster made through CBS' ownership of the company.