Finebilt

Finebilt presses were manufactured in Los Angeles beginning in the early 1950s until 1962 or ’63. They were the first commercial dealership to make presses available to the pressing market. CBS had developed a record press, but it was used exclusively for CBS product in CBS plants. Hamilton presses eventually became the main competition for Finebilt. New, the Finebilt press cost between $6,000 and $8,000 and included the extruder. The last Finebilt press was made just after Lened came out with the first automatic record press in 1962-63.

As a manual press, the Finebilt is very rudimentary and basic though still fabulously effective. 

From Switzerland comes this memory of Finebilt’s history from none other than the daughter of Finebilt’s former president, Alwin P. Schmid.

Just by chance, Liane M. Santoro-Schmid was searching the web seeking any ties to her father’s company legacy, when she discovered Finebilts in use at Quality Record Pressings.

“I am quite sure that my father would be proud to know that someone has actually kept the presses alive and working after all these years,” she says. “They were sold world-wide.”

Her father was a successful self-made businessman who had immigrated to the U.S. from Switzerland after World War II. He started working for Finebilt as a vice president in 1963, and by 1969 was company president. Finebilt was originally founded by Paul Mayer; its first address was 2846 West Pico Blvd. in Los Angeles. Its headquarters was once located at 931 Citrus Avenue in Los Angeles.

Not much of any visual or written materials remain from Finebilt, save ads in 1960s-era audio magazines (besides record presses, the company dealt in tape manufacturing and duplicating machines), a sheet of letterhead stationery and a promotional flyer. Alwin Schmid died on July 26, 1992.

“In any event, I just wanted to say that I am happy to know his legacy continues and that Finebilt Presses are still considered some of the best products in the industry, made in the U.S.A.. Best regards, Liane M. Santoro-Schmid, Caslano, Switzerland.”


These photos show Finebilt president Alwin P. Schmid at work in his office, with his secretary (unidentified), with the office staff, and with his business partner, Joe Bouzago. Also shown is a photo of Schmid and others from the factory floor, inside the plant in Los Angeles. Also included is a brochure from the Finebilt's early manufacturing days.



Quality Record Pressings
• 543 N. 10th St. • Salina, Kansas 67401