Dating fuzz faces
Electronics engineers at the time often used these text book circuits in fuzz and booster pedal designs as clients usually wanted things fast and inexpensive.
Sometimes they used nearly the exact book circuits or slightly modified forms, sometimes combinations of those different circuit stages, other times only the circuit architecture was used, but component values were changed to suit the application.
No one accidentally 'discovered' it, although occasionally accidents caused amplifiers to distort, which were then intentionally recorded because people liked the sound.
While initially musicians desired clean guitar amplification, thus distortion was frowned upon, in the growing rock and blues arena of the late 1940s through the 1950s distorted guitar was becoming something very intentional.
The original Fuzz Face was built by Dallas Arbiter and includes Volume and Fuzz controls in a chassis inspired by a microphone stand mount.This is generally accepted as the first recorded "fuzz tone" circuit, although Sanford Clark's in January 1961.Country musicians, mostly from the Nashville area, picked up on the fad and featured fuzz tone guitar on various recordings for the next few years.At some point, a switch was made from Germanium transistors to Silicon, and early pedals with Germanium are much more collectable.
This is a list of all the market release dates for most major fuzz box pedals and Electro-Harmonix Big Muff Pi pedals, and related fuzz pedals and clones from the mid 1960's to the mid '70's.
It should be noted that basic amplifier circuits appeared in Mullard, Valvo, GE, and Phillips application books in the 1950's, '60's and '70's.