The following information is a condensed version of detailed history outlined in the book, The Story of the Ventures, by Del Halterman.
History of Mosrite Amplifiers:
The story of the Mosrite amplifier actually consists of two separately manufactured amplifiers being built by two separate companies both bearing the Mosrite name. It’s lineage can be traced to the efforts of Bob Bogle. At one time the Mosrite Distributing company was owned by the Ventures and directed by business manager Stan Wagner.
The Ventures proposed the idea for Mosrite to build amplifiers, however Semie wasn’t able to design and produce an amplifier on a large scale in a timely manner. Bogle, having already severed ties with Mosrite Distrubing Company, went in search of a builder and designer to produce his own brand amplifier and located a small electronics company in Conoga Park, a suburb of Los Angeles, CA. This business was operated by an individual known as George Faith. An agreement was made between Bogle and Faith and the name of the amp was to be called the Encore. As a side note, during this process Bogle had designed a swept wing guitar, which was never produced by Bogle, however, it’s design was later (unofficially) adopted and manufactured by Bob Hall to become the Hallmark swept wing guitar.
After taking numerous orders and deposits from music stores all around the country, the Encor amp business disintegrated when Faith absconded with the funds and folded the business before production ever started.
Mosrite Ventures model guitars were selling very well and the seed was already planted for a new Ventures model Encor amp. Inquiries were constantly coming in to Mosrite Distributing Co. anticipating Bogle's new amp. Not wanting to let an opportunity slip by, Stan Wagner saw the great demand and was very interested in adding a Ventures model amp. Bogle again began looking for another manufacture to build amplifiers to accompany the Ventures model Mosrite guitar.
An electronics engineer (name unknown) was found in Los Angeles, and he designed and built a prototype amplifier. Stan Wagner took the prototype to JB Lansing Company in an effort to have them build the amp in mass quantity, but they were not interested.
Bogle located the company Waters-Connelly of Rochester, Minnesota, manufactures of home entertainment products, who were contracted to build the amps. Although the contract was for a Ventures model amplifier, Waters-Connelly insisted on putting their own brand name Award, as well as the Ventures Model nomenclature. Promotion for the Award amplifier commenced at the end of 1966 with production to follow later.
Stan Wagner, operating as CEO for Mosrite Distributing Co. obtained a $500,000 loan to cover production cost. In addition he contacted Semie, as he felt that having the name Mosrite on their new Award Ventures model amp would enhance sales even more. An agreement was made and for a flat fee of $5000, Semie gave them permission to use both the Mosrite and Fuzzrite name. However, it would be another year before the amp was available to the public.
Although Semie had was unable to mass produce an amp as required by the Ventures, he continued with the idea to manufacture a Mosrite amp and hired an electronics engineer, Howard Dumble, to come up with a design. This was to be solely a Mosrite amp with no connection to the Ventures.
In 1966, Semie's Mosrite amplifier was designed and readied for production. At the same time Ed Sanner, who was also a Mosrite employee and an electronics engineer, designed a fuzz tone pedal for steel guitar player, Leo LeBlanc. Semie saw the advantages of this new devise and they decided to manufacture it under the name Fuzzrite, as well as incorporate it into his production amps.
Although Mosrite amps by Semie were manufactured, unfortunately not a great number of them were produced before Mosrite going bankrupt, making them much more rare than the Award amplifiers. Unfortunately for the Ventures, the Award amps became a disaster. The first ones built were fine, but as production continued, quality control diminished and these amps became virtually unusable without a major over haul. After they began hitting the market, the amps were being returned for rebuild faster than they could be sold. The problem turned out to be a major design flaw as the original prototype design had been altered without the Ventures knowledge.
This is how we come to have two separate Mosrite amplifiers being manufactured during virtually the same period.
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