More Finebilt history from David Bouzaglou, Los Angeles, the son of Joseph Bouzaglou, who was an equal partner with Al Schmid, when they bought the company from Paul Mayer.
My parents emigrated to the USA in 1955, with me in tow, from Casablanca Morocco. After spending four years working in Cleveland Ohio, the decision to move to Los Angeles was very easy considering the temperate climate here.
After a few local jobs, he found a position with Paul Mayer's company that was selling record presses to independent record companies. Father's out-of-the-box thinking led him and Al to expand the business, using U.S. government incentives, to boost export sales of product.
The program enabled a successful increase in production to the point where their partnership purchased the business from Paul.
They kept growing the business to the point to where actual manufacture and assembly was brought in-house. The big move was to 931 N Citrus Ave , in Hollywood, where a manufacturing shop was set up across the street from the offices. I was fortunate to learn my work ethic from my father, with stints in the machine shop, helping the technicians there with various machine work and assembly. It became a full-time position after I left college until sometime in the late ‘70's.
Finebilt could supply a complete record production line, and did so to many companies all over the world. I personally visited plants in Spain and Portugal where the machines were pressing away. Plants were set up in Africa, Europe, Asia, South America, and in the Middle East.
The company unfortunately could not keep up with new technology, despite their efforts to expand into new products. Forays into magnetic tape machinery, processing of cassette tape, high speed recording on cassette tape, and even a short time producing cassettes in the Canadian market were not successful.
The demand for semi-manually operated record pressing machines were eclipsed by automatic high volume presses, cassettes, and of course CD discs.
Ironically presses were needed again for the production of CDs but on a more sophisticated platform that could produce much higher volumes of product.
The Finebuilt presses, as you state in your posting, are indeed simple, but incredibly robust, producing quality pressings. I know as there were a lot of heavy parts for me to work on in the shop !
The Finebilt company, and their partnership, dissolved sometime in the early ‘80's as demand for spare parts and accessories dwindled.
In the end, the company provided a good living for the families and employees for a long time. We are grateful on this Father's day to be reminded where we came from.
- David Bouzaglou