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Old Posted Nov 29, 2010, 7:44 PM
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GaylordWilshire GaylordWilshire is offline
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More on Gilfillan

Originally Posted by ethereal_reality View Post

Can anyone make out the name on the white streamline building?
The lettering looks interesting; but I can't make it out.

Originally Posted by GaylordWilshire View Post
Pacific Electric Railway Historical Society
1815 Venice Boulevard

The lettering spells GILFILLAN. Gilfillan Brothers was--or rather is--a radio manufacturer that produced units under its own name and for other nameplates such as Packard-Bell. Gilfillan was the licensee to build sets for RCA that were sold in 11 western states until 1940. According to the Radiomuseum website, Gilfillan was selected in 1942 to produce the first Ground Control Approach (GCA) radar. Its systems were used during WWII and were instrumental in the success of the Berlin Airlift. Gilfillan became a division of ITT in 1964 and, according to a recent company profile, is "the number-one supplier of military air traffic control systems worldwide."

ITT Corporation/Images of America: West Adams
This shot appears to be close to the time of the Gilfillan building's completion, since the name has not
yet been applied over the entrance. Judging by the cars, I'd say it's 1935-36-37.

A great example of prospering through diverisification, Gilfillan had quite a history before becoming part of ITT in 1964--it was founded in 1912 as the Gilfillan Brothers Smelting and Refining Company, originally supplying precious metals to various professionals, including dentists and jewelers. Later the company used platinum in the manufacture of automobile ignition components and became the first West Coast maker of Bakelite. I'm not sure when Gilfillan put up its streamline buildings at 1815 Venice Boulevard, but the company was located there as early as 1923, according to the City Directory (Venice was W. 16th Street until 1926; the company's previous plant was downtown at 11th and Wall). By the late '20s, in addition to auto parts, the company was making radios and electric drills. TV manufacture came later, but by the mid-'50s, Gilfillan was a radar-systems maker exclusively.

ITT Corporation/Images of America: West Adams

Above is a great shot of Gilfillan from the air. The curved building at Berendo Street at the extreme right is still there, though heavily remodeled (with its curves, I wonder if it was once part of the Gilfillan complex?), as are a number of houses seen and the church farther north on Berendo. The round building at lower left was originally the Los Angeles Crematory and Columbarium Association. It is now the Chapel of the Pines and holds the remains of some notable Hollywood denizens: Ann Sheridan, Herbert Marshall (The Letter, The Little Foxes), Jay Silverheels (Zorro's special pal, Tonto), Thomas Mitchell (Scarlett's dad and Uncle Billy in It's a Wonderful Life), Edmund Gwenn (Santa in Miracle on 34th Street), and--here's a noir connection!--Maude Fulton, screenwriter of The Maltese Falcon.

Google Street View
Chapel of the Pines, 1605 S. Catalina. That's Rosedale Cemetery behind it.
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