Paul M. Fuller, 1897-1951
has over the years been believed that Paul Max Fuller was born in Switzerland
on the 5th January, 1897. Actually, if family information is correct, he was
born on the island Corsica (born name Paul Colland), and then still an infant brought
to Interlaken in Switzerland by his French mother, maiden name Sophie Colland, who married a Swiss citizen Erwin Furler (Paul Fuller stated once that he was born in
Interlaken on the 5th June, as stated officially on the birth certificate, but
celebrated birthdays on the 5th January). As a young man, on his honeymoon with
his wife Friedel (Frida Schär), he went to Omaha in Nebraska to visit Friedel's sister Louise, and Paul Furler
may have thought that he could do well in the States as an architect/designer.
It is believed that Paul Furler worked as a farm hand
in Nebraska for a few years, while he learned the Anglo-American language, and
it is also believed that Paul Fuller took the middle name Max from a friend
when he applied for American citizenship. Max Hofstetter
was a good friend and fellow designer, who travelled on the ship Rotterdam from
Boulogne-sur-Mer to New
York with Paul and Friedel when they were on their
honeymoon. Max was also the son of August Hofstetter,
the founder of Möbelfabrik Aug. Hofstetter
in Basel, and Paul Furler served a four year
apprenticeship at the Hofstetter factory plus one
year at another major furniture factory. According to the U.S. Naturalization
forms Paul (Furler) Fuller arrived in New York on the
21st August 1920, after the marriage to Friedel on
the 7th May in Basel. In 1925 he designed and built his own house ‘Twin Oaks’
on Sunset Lane in Deerfield, and also rebuilt the Presbytarian
school in Deerfield/Bannockburn. At the same time Paul M. Fuller started
working for the firm Marshall Field & Co. (hundred years later the fourth
largest general merchandise retailer in the States). At the
During the years at The Rudolph Wurlitzer Company Paul M. Fuller had a total of 17 phonograph (jukebox) cabinet designs patented in his own name. The classic Fuller designs started with Model 312 (patent No. D:99,277 filed on the 8th February,1936) and ended with Model 1100 (patent No. D:153,675 filed on the 8th September, 1947). Among the 17 designs was one for a Model 260 Console Speaker and another for a very nice remote control unit for Model 1100 (filed the same day), but those two designs were as far as it is known today never produced at The Rudolph Wurlitzer Company in North Tonawanda. Paul M. Fuller also filed an additional patent for a remote-control selector device on the 17th August, 1945 (patent No. 2,612,710 granted on the 7th October, 1952), and he also designed electric organs and keyboard covers for The Rudolph Wurlitzer Company in 1946 and 1947. Paul M. (nickname: Malt) Fuller was together with general sales manager Milton (Mike) G. Hammergren and the famed illustrator Albert Dorne responsible for the whirlwind national Wurlitzer advertising campaign around 1947, and the dean of jukebox designers finally left the major jukebox manufacturer late in 1948 due to health problems and hospitalization, leaving behind a legacy that transcended the mere product and helped to define an age, the Golden Age of automatic coin-op phonographs. The last coin-op phonograph model Paul M. Fuller was involved with as designer at The Rudolph Wurlitzer Company was the Model 1250 introduced on the market early 1950.
In the first months of 1949, soon after leaving the jukebox trade and the Fairfax Hotel in Buffalo, where he resided during the years at The Rudolph Wurlitzer Company, Paul M. Fuller purchased a factory building at 101-107 South Warner Street in Oneida, and established his own design engineering company, the Paul M. Fuller Co. Inc., designing mainly wooden chests and silver display boxes. The company was active with up to 85 employees from the 1st April, 1949, until around the 1st April, 1954. However, from the 1st April, 1951, and the next three years the company was managed by James H. Keene and Philip V. Clonan, and the 30,000 sq.ft. production facility was finally offered for sale on the 2nd May, 1954. Paul M. Fuller was working with wonderful furniture and piano designs between 1949 and 1951, and many years before, in 1937, Paul M. Fuller assigned a very nice patented desk design to the Chicago based The Clemetsen Co. (Clemco Desk Mfg. Co.). After his employment at The Rudolph Wurlitzer Company Paul M. Fuller was also vice-president in charge of design and production at the Chicago based SuperVend Sales Corp.. The SuperVend Corp. was acquired by a group of investors headed by Milton G. Hammergren in 1950.
Paul Max Fuller suffered a fatal heart attack during a general checkup at the Millard Fillmore Hospital in Buffalo, and died at 7.30 a.m. on the 29th March, 1951, only 54 years of age, and was cremated at the Forest Lawn Chapel two days later. According to the obituary in the "Buffalo Evening News" Paul M. Fuller was survived by his widow (married in July, 1944), the nurse Ruby Helen Rudd Fuller (1907-2000), his son Paul Norman Fuller, and also by his brother Hans Furler in Zürich in Switzerland. Paul M. Fuller's first wife Friedel (Frida Schär) died in 1985 (born a week before Paul on the 30th December, 1896) and his son Paul Norman died in 1999 (born in September, 1927). Unfortunately, his second son Charles Frederick (born in December, 1929) passed away from meningitis at Highland Park Hospital in 1938. According to the cremation permit (Reg. No. 5417) Paul Max Fuller's ashes were scattered, and therefore no grave marker can be found at the Forest Lawn Cemetery in Buffalo.
Gert J. Almind