Paul Bigsby Story

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OzziePete

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Max said:
Well, my mom is friends with my physics teacher's dad.
And one of my friends at school is my old girlfriend's younger brother's best friend's older sister.
And my middle school english teacher is my mom's mom's friend's son's wife.

Where's the head spinning emoticon?  :icon_scratch:  :sad:

Deep, Max. Deeeeep. You don't live in a small town either do you? So that sort of interconnection is kinda rare.
 

-CB-

Senior member
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5,427
OzziePete said:
Wow, =CB=, sounds like you knew these guys. Not dissing on you or anything like that, it's just that your interpretation on events sounds so real and like you were there when it happened - or know someone who was.

In perhaps a bit of a Forrest Gump sort of way...  I did by happenstance get to rub elbows with some folks.  There was a retired engineer who used to come down by the gun range where I was teaching firearms safety in the early 90's.  Turns out he was an apprentice Fender in Fullerton, Ca back around 1960 or so.  He had stories to tell, and loved to tell them.  The notations on voltage, on the various AB763 schematics are his, he said.  George Fullerton,  Leo's partner and best bud, had a lot of stores to tell in interviews, official Fender publications and in his own books too, but I never met or talked with him, only read a lot.  I think the engineer was related to White, who worked as chief engineer at Fender for a good while.  He was like his nephew or some shirt-tail relation.

Bill Lawrence, Bill Kaman (Charlie's son), Mike Matthews, Frank Ford.... I've some casual contact with those folks - more Forrest Gump I'm sure.

I probably should add that I ran an electronics shop that specialized in industrial controls.  I did that for 18 years.  Most of that stuff is old-school electronics, so I had access to, and really was bombarded with all sort of promotional material, and vendor introductions and product lines.  With my interest in guitars and amp and radio... this was all like being a kid working in a candy store.  All I had to do was say "We're thinking about doing up a project and need some samples..." and I'd have six or a dozen whatever on my desk in a few days.  Its good to be king.  These days, I'm not king (working at another company), but I've kept up with the old contacts, and they're mostly sympathetic when we've got a short run product to get designed and out to the field.
 

-CB-

Senior member
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5,427
I think they were related - how he got his job as apprentice.  Apprentice is what they used to calll it when you were either doing what is "intern" work today, or are working your way through college.  The gun range had its own set of colorful folks - they guy who owns Jack Ruby's gun, the  guy who foudn the cure for TB, the guy who played Mr Rumphold on "Are you being served", Don King the strange fight promoter hiimself... and some I probably forgot.
 
O

OzziePete

Guest
=CB= said:
I think they were related - how he got his job as apprentice.  Apprentice is what they used to calll it when you were either doing what is "intern" work today, or are working your way through college.  The gun range had its own set of colorful folks - they guy who owns Jack Ruby's gun, the  guy who foudn the cure for TB, the guy who played Mr Rumphold on "Are you being served", Don King the strange fight promoter hiimself... and some I probably forgot.

Yeah, Australia used to have a small thriving gunsmithing industry til regulations ruined it totally.

My late Dad, in the 50s and 60s, used to do a lot of shooting as he had a team of hounds that he showed in Dog Shows (pure bred dogs) and to keep them in shape he'd go away -  from what he told me - at least once a month with his mates and run the hounds and chase kangaroos and wallabies. In those days, very little licencing or conservation, so they could do that.

He knew a guy called Bill Marsden who helped to develop a variant of .22 Hornet ( I think it was .218 BEE round?), and Dad was an aficionado of the .22 Hornet, so he got to seeing Marsden quite a bit. Marsden packaged a range of reloading dies and tools, which out lasted my Dad (who passed in 1985). In Dad's final years he got me interested in reloading too, and I met the old Bill Marsden and his son (who took over the business) & I wound up reloading .308s til the regulations that were introduced made me sick to the stomach about jumping through regulatory hoops like a circus dog.

The funny thing was, was that old Bill Marsden was very much like Leo Fender/Bigsby and even Les Paul's garage in the way he had a small business out the back in a smallish shed & developed it from next to nothing after the Second World War. So yeah, I know what you mean about eccentric and devoted people.

So you knew the guy who had Jack Ruby's gun eh? Ruby was a 'colourful' identity wasn't he? :eek: Very much connected I understand?
 

-CB-

Senior member
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The .25-20 is the parent of the .218 Bee, so thats probably not it, but... there are a LOT of .22 Hornet wildcats

A guy named Anthony Puglese bought the gun from Ruby's brother, who claimed it back from court after the time period for holding the evidence ran out.  He paid $250,000 for it.  He then sold (or tried to sell) bullets fired from the gun, in a walnut case with certificate and such, for $500 each, to recoup his investment.  Tony came in to the range one day, and wanted to take the barrel off the gun - why?  Because the gun is an aluminum frame Cobra (or was it the first Agent model... I forget they're real similar).  Anyway, the gun was gonna wear out trying to fire enough rounds (5000) to recoup the investment, AND, the gun was falling apart as it was.  I personally made some repairs to the gun, but advised him that the barrel would have to stay put because its removal from an aluminum frame would destroy the frame.  So we worked up very light loads that sort of "leaked" from the end of the barrel, and Tony fired them into a drum of water.  They were then collected, and engraved with serial number, very thinly plated, and mounted, hopefully to sell.  One day, he had a squib load, and I had to drive it back down the barrel.  Luckily he noticed it was a squib, because it was protruding from the end of the 2-1/2 inch barrel!!!  I asked for the bullet as a souvenir and Tony said - yeah sure "kid" (I was about 35 at the time).  He was good to us, always came in with freebie coupons for this or that (like dinner for two at Mortons or Charlies Crab). 

 
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