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Instruments currently produced in Santa Ana, CA. Distributed by Rickenbacker International Corporation of Santa Ana, CA. Rickenbacker instruments have been produced in California since 1931.
In 1925, John Dopyera (and brothers) joined up with George Beauchamp and Adolph Rickenbacker and formed National to build resonator guitars. Beauchamp´s attitudes over spending money caused John Dopyera to leave National and start the Dobro company. While at National, Beauchamp, Rickenbacker and Dopyera´s nephew, Paul Barth, designed the Frying Pan electric lap steel. In 1929 or 1930, Beauchamp was either forced out or fired from National - and so allied himself with Adolph Rickenbacker (National´s tool and die man) and Barth to form Ro-Pat-In.
In the summer of 1931, Ro-Pat-In started building aluminum versions of the Frying Pan prototype. Early models have "Electro" on the headstock. Two years later, "Rickenbacker" (or sometimes "Rickenbacher") was added to the headstock, and Ro-Pat-In was formally changed to the Electro String Instrument Corporation. Beauchamp left Electro sometime in 1940, and Barth left in 1956 to form his own company.
In December of 1953, F.C. Hall bought out the interests of Rickenbacker and his two partners. The agreement stated that the purchase was complete, and Electro could "continue indefinitely to use the trade name Rickenbacker." Hall, founder of Radio-Tel and the exclusive Fender distributor, had his Fender distributorship bought out by Leo Fender and Don Randall. The Rickenbacker company was formed in 1965 as an organizational change (Electro is still the manufacturer, and Rickenbacker is the sales company). Rickenbacker instruments gained popularity as the Beatles relied on a number of their guitars in the 1960s. One slight area of confusion: the model names and numbers differ from the U.S. market to models imported to the U.K. market during the short period in the 1960s when Rose Morris represented Rickenbacker in the U.K (at all other times, the model numbers worldwide have been identical to the U.S. market).
In 1984, John Hall (F.C. Hall´s son) officially took control by purchasing his father´s interests in both the Rickenbacker, Inc. and Electro String companies. Hall formed the Rickenbacker International Corporation (RIC) to combine both interests (source: John C. Hall, Chief Executive Officer, Rickenbacker International Corporation; and Tom Wheeler, American Guitars).

From Blue Book Publications:

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