1932 saw the introduction of the 'Frypan' from Rickenbacker. Now in the museum of the company's corporate headquarters in Santa Ana, California. This was the infancy not only of the "Steel" or "Lap" but in fact the modern solid electric guitar as we know it today.
Fender came into the "Steel Scene" in the mid 50s after production of the early nocasters and Telecasters. They of course were derived from early Hawaiian guitars and the sound sought after was a variation of that, many slide and slant techniques are used to this day on pedal steel, especially on the C6th tuned neck. 1958 saw Fender introduce their blonde models shortly followed in '64 by the 'sunburst' 4/6/800 & 1000 series cabled pedal steels which a lot of us young steelies drooled over at the time along with those Fender 'wildwoods'
The '60s saw Rose Morris and Framus dabble in the picture but they did not pursue it for long.
The 'Big Name' in the early country scene was of course Sho-Bud. Players of this instrument appeared on all the early nashville recordings, the sound of those guitars can be instantly recognised to this day. During those years the "Big 'E'" as he is known, Mr "Buddy Emmons", entered into production of his own Brand, the sounds he achieved then brought yet another new dimension to the table. Buddy was a great inspiration to us all at that stage and was in many ways the yardstick for our achievment, as if this was not enough Mr Zane Beck threw a good deal of us into wonder and awe with the arrival of his brand the ZB 'custom' another beautiful instrument with a unique sound enhanced by the triple coil pickup, a sound many aspire to emulate even yet. The ZB was of course made famous by the late great and very much loved Tom Brumley
From those early years we have seen many new manufacturers come to the fore with super new innovation and mechanical refinement making ever greater ease of play and clarity of sound along with cabinet developments such as MSA's entry in Carbon Fibre reducing the traditional weight issue all steel players live with. The manufacturers include Carter, Emmons, Sierra, MSA, Fessenden, Zumsteel, Williams, Franklin, Sho-Pro, GFI, Mullen, Derby, BMI, Fulawka, Rains, Excel, WBS, Magnum, Jackson, Pedalmaster, Rayline, Remington and others. Please note: these names are stated in no preferential order.