Even though he's not very well known, Paul Barth was a major player in early guitar development.  The son of a National Co. woodshop foreman, his involvement with the first electric guitar pickup with George Beauchamp culminated in the development of the first electric guitar, the Rickenbacker "Frying Pan" .  He was a founding member of the Ro-Pat-In Corp. in 1931 and was later elected to the board of directors at the National Corporation, eventually becoming plant superintendent.  Only a short time later, he was elected Vice-President of the Ro-Pat-In Corp., later to become the Electro String Corp.  Paul stayed with Electro until 1957.

Paul also did development work for Magnatone on their early guitars around 1959.

Paul M. Barth was born 01 November, 1908 in San Mateo County, California and died in October 1973 in Riverside, CA.

The following information is courtesy of Andy Crescenzo, who worked with Paul Barth at Estey's Magnatone plant in Harmony, PA.

He even opened a small storefront on main street, Zelienople, PA.[a mile from Harmony], where he spun pick-ups on all these spinners in the back room.  In the front were all kinds of do-dads, strings, pick-ups etc.  I would go in after school and work with him [I was 14 when first hired by Estey].  Although we knew he was someone, we really had no grasp of his stature at the time.  I worked with him many days, many times into the night, when I would hitchhike home.  We made pick-ups together, oodles of em, all kinds, but mostly single-coil, and many cool exp models.  He gave me a super Guild pick-up with monster poles on it for Christmas that he made of white ceramic and was the only one of it's kind!  He talked about Rickenbacker a little but I was gonzo for Fender.  Said he could make Fender pick-ups better than Fender.  He was a very kind old man, good to us small-town guitar hungry kids.  Then, one day, just as quickly as he appeared, he was gone, we never found out where.  Brings tears to my eyes to think that so many years ago I worked very closely with such a legend.  He liked me and I will never forget him.  I am just now finding out how famous Paul was/is in todays music world.  God Bless Paul Barth,a true innovator.  I have many memories and you are the only who has ever asked me, many more.  Thank you so much, hope I answered your question, and I hope you are as surprised as I am to receive it.  P.S.My work with Paul was separate from my work with Estey.