Western Auto Supply Co.; - Trade names General, Triangle, Truetone.
There is the big question if we should list the models of Western Auto Supply Co. under the manufacturer or under the brands.
The following manufactureres used the brand Truetone: Belmont, Warwick, Wells Gardener and Western Auto Supply Co. In the schematic collections we find Truetone for SAMS and Western for Beitman and Rider. Most later collector books list the models as Truetone. Western used different brands.
All Western Auto Supply Co. products we list as Western. Where we know that the brand "Truetone" can be read on a given set we use this brand name (or other brand names) in the model name field in front of the other name(s) or number(s). Up to year 2009 we did not mention the brand. Therefore this is not complete (yet) - 1st Feb we have 155 of 511 models with this brand in the name.
In March, 1909, in Kansas City, Missouri, twenty-three year old George Pepperdine (who later founded Pepperdine University in Los Angeles, California) started a company that became known as Western Auto Supply Company. In its hay-day there were stores in nearly every major city throughout the United States employing several thousand people.
By 1914, the then Western Auto Supply Agency had a good sized store at 1426 Grand Avenue in Kansas City, Missouri.
In 1915, the first branch store of Western Auto Supply Agency opened at 1564 Broadway in Denver, Colorado.
By 1920, Western Auto Supply Company had over eleven stores spanning from Los Angeles to Seattle, Washington; Phoenix, Arizona and Dallas, Texas.
In 1923 a four story and basement corporate headquarters was built at the corner of S. Grand Avenue and Eleventh Street in Los Angeles.
In 1939 George made a decision to sell his interests in Western Auto Supply Company. A company out of Minneapolis, the Gamble-Skogmo Company purchased George's controlling shares, freeing him to retire, and serve the needs of others. The company did continue to grow into the nationwide chain later known simply as Western Auto.
At one point, there were over 1,200 company-owned stores nationwide, usually located in metropolitan areas, and more than 600 associate stores (private franchise "dealer" locations), usually located in small cities and towns. The associate store program was the first of its type, pioneering the way for other future modern day franchise operations. The company had five regional distribution centers in the United States, with the one located in North Carolina serving its stores in Puerto Rico.
Truetone was one of the the trade names used for products made by Western Auto Supply, located at 2107 Grand Ave., Kansas City, Missouri. They began in 1933, initially making radios, and later offered a line of television sets starting in 1949. The Truetone name can be seen in electronics products into 1980. Western Auto Supply Co. used also the brand names General and Triangle.