In the 1940s, southern California inventor Leo Fender realized that he could improve on the amplified hollow-body instruments of the day by using an innovative and rather simple solid-body electric guitar design. Further, he realized that he could streamline the process of building them.
In 1951 he introduced a prototype solid-body instrument that would eventually be called the Telecaster® guitar. The Tele®, as it was often called then and still is today, was the first solid-body Spanish-style electric guitar to be commercially mass-produced.
Courtesy of fender.com