The first magnetic pick-up was invented in 1924 by Lloyd Loar, a Gibson employee. The real first all electric guitars were made in 1931 by the Electric String Company. Designed by, amongst others, the legendary Adolf Rickenbacker, these 'fry pan' guitars were made of aluminium and played across the knees with a slide.
The first electric or electrified acoustic guitar was the Gibson EL150 in 1936.
The first 1940's solid body guitars electric guitars, similar to those we recognise today, were made by Gibson employees Merle Travis and Paul Bigsby, after the Les Paul 'Log' showed the way.
In the 1950s, Leo Fender made the first mass produced electric guitars; the ubiquitous Telecaster being the first. This was rapidly followed by the Gibson Les Paul.
George Beauchamp developed the first successful Electric Guitar in 1931 after leaving the National Resophonic Guitar Company of Los Angles, California to start the electRO-PATin-INstrument Company with Adolph Rickenbacker and Paul Barth. The goal of the Ro-Pat-In Company was to produce a line of electrically amplified instruments using the string driven electro magnetic pick-up (the design most widely used to this day). The company went into production in late summer of 1932 with both Hawaiian and Spanish (standard) guitars; the Hawaiian models being the most popular of that time. Each instrument was sold as a set with an amplifier. Neither instrument was designed to have any acoustic quality; the Hawaiian being made of cast aluminium and the Spanish of thick laminated wood construction. By 1933 the company had changed its name to Electro Stringed Instrument Company and by 1934 to Rickenbacker Electro Instrument Company. The company is still manufacturing electric guitars under the name Rickenbacker International. Perhaps the most widely recognized users of Rickenbacker guitars are The Beatles.
Harland Bernard Bodkin, invented the first solid body Electric Guitar 19 June 1941, which was based on a magnetic field pick up. He lived in Marrickville in Sydney Australia. The original prototype still exists in the Tamworth Musuem. The Patent for his guitar is titled 'Electric Guitar'. See below. No other claimed inventors of the electric guitar have been able to provide documented proof that they are in fact the inventor of the electric guitar. Harland Bernard Bodkin is the only claimed inventor of the Electric Guitar, that has documented proof.
Adolph Rickenbacker invented an electric semi hollow body guitar. It was basically a guitar with a microphone attached to it. Harland Bodkins guitar was a solid body with a magnetic field pick up, which is what Leo Fender produced when he first began