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Fisher Body

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Fisher Body
Vehicle Body Manufacturer

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Wikipedia: Fisher Body

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An automobile coachbuilder founded in 1908 by the Fisher brothers, most known for the "Body by Fisher" badge that appeared on General Motors cars for decades. The company as an entity was dissolved in 1984, but the Body by Fisher badges continued on into the 1990's.

History

The following section is an excerpt from Wikipedia's Fisher Body page on 14 September 2019, text available via the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Fisher Body was an automobile coachbuilder founded by the Fisher brothers in 1908 in Detroit, Michigan; it had been a division of General Motors for many years, but in 1984 was dissolved to form other General Motors divisions. Fisher & Company (originally Alloy Metal Products) continues to use the name. The name and its iconic "Body by Fisher" logo were well known to the public, as General Motors vehicles displayed a "Body by Fisher" emblem on their door sill plates until the mid-1990s.

Fisher Body's beginnings trace back to a horse-drawn carriage shop in Norwalk, Ohio, in the late 1800s. Lawrence P. Fisher (1852 Peru, Ohio – 1921, Norwalk, Ohio) and his wife Margaret Theisen (1857 Baden, Germany – 1936 Detroit, Michigan) had a large family of eleven children; seven were sons who would become part of the Fisher Body Company in Detroit. Lawrence and Margaret were married in Sandusky, Ohio, in 1876. Margaret Theisen Fisher lived in Detroit after her husband died.

The Fisher brothers were:
Frederick John (1878–1941)
Charles Thomas (1880–1963)
William Andrew (1886–1969)
Lawrence P. Fisher (1888–1961)
Edward F. Fisher (1891–1972)
Alfred J. Fisher (1892–1963)
Howard A. Fisher (1902–1942)

In 1904 and 1905, the two eldest brothers, Fred and Charles, came to Detroit where their uncle Albert Fisher had established Standard Wagon Works during the latter part of the 1880s. The brothers found work at the C. R. Wilson Company, a manufacturer of horse-drawn carriage bodies that was beginning to make bodies for the automobile manufacturers. With financing from their uncle, on July 22, 1908, Fred and Charles Fisher established the Fisher Body Company. Their uncle soon wanted out and the brothers obtained the needed funds from Detroit businessman Louis Mendelssohn who became a shareholder and director. Within a short period of time, Charles and Fred Fisher brought their five younger brothers into the business.

Prior to forming the company, Fred Fisher had built the body of the Cadillac Osceola at the C. R. Wilson Company. Starting in 1910, Fisher became the supplier of all closed bodies for Cadillac, and also built for Buick.

In the early years of the company, the Fisher Brothers had to develop new body designs because the "horseless carriage" bodies did not have the strength to withstand the vibration of the new motorcars. By 1913, the Fisher Body Company had the capacity to produce 100,000 cars per year and customers included: Ford, Krit, Chalmers, Cadillac, and Studebaker. Highly successful, they expanded into Canada, setting up a plant in Walkerville, Ontario, and by 1914 their operations had grown to become the world's largest manufacturer of auto bodies. One reason for their success was the development of interchangeable wooden body parts that did not require hand-fitting, as was the case in the construction of carriages. This required the design of new precision woodworking tools.

The Fisher Body and Buick chassis were built in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada, in the 1920s.

In 1916, the company became the Fisher Body Corporation. Its capacity was 370,000 bodies per year and its customers included Abbot, Buick, Cadillac, Chalmers, Chandler, Chevrolet, Church-Field, Elmore, EMF, Ford, Herreshoff, Hudson, Krit, Oldsmobile, Packard, Regal, and Studebaker.

The company constructed the now-abandoned Albert Kahn-designed Fisher Body Plant 21, on Piquette Street, in Detroit, in 1919. The building is now part of the Piquette Avenue Industrial Historic District. At the time, the company had more than 40 buildings encompassing 3,700,000 square feet (344,000 m²) of floor space.

In a 1919 deal put together by president William C. Durant, General Motors bought 60% of the company. The Fisher company purchased Fleetwood Metal Body in 1925, and in 1926 was integrated entirely as an in-house coachbuilding division of General Motors. Fisher Body Division was dissolved in 1984, with some of its plants taken over by the newly created Fisher Guide Division (later Inland Fisher Guide), and the remaining facilities absorbed by other GM operations.

Founded in 1947 by members of the Fisher family, Fisher & Company continues to use the name, with such divisions as Fisher Dynamics.


Article Index

DateArticleAuthor/Source
29 November 1922FISHER BODY PROFITS.The New York Times
20 December 1922NEW DURANT STOCK OFFER.The New York Times
26 May 1929NEW VIKING CAR BODY IS FISHER MASTERPIECEThe Ludington Daily News


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