Fisher Body

Fisher Body

Fisher Body is an automobile coachbuilder founded by the Fisher brothers in 1908 in Detroit, Michigan which is now an operating division of General Motors Corporation.

Fisher Body's beginnings trace back to a horse-drawn carriage shop in Norwalk, Ohio, in the late 1800s. Lawrence Fisher and his wife Margaret had a large family of eleven children of which seven were sons who would all become a part of the Fisher Body Company in Detroit.

The Fisher brothers were:
# Frederick John (1878-1941)
# Charles Thomas (1880-1963)
# Lawrence Peter (1881-1961)
# William Andrew (1886-1969)
# Edward F. (1891-1972)
# Alfred J. (1892-1963)
# Howard A. (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 who were 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. However, 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 a 1919 deal put together by president William C. Durant, General Motors bought 60% of the company before integrating it entirely as an in-house coachbuilding division in 1926.

The company constructed their signature factory, Fisher Body 21, in 1919. At the time, the company had more than 40 buildings encompassing 3,700,000 square feet (344,000 m²) of floor space. The Fisher company purchased Fleetwood Metal Body in 1925. It was split from Ternstedt and recombined in 1968. Fisher was dissolved by being merged with other GM operations in 1984.

and by 1914 their operations had grown to become the world's largest manufacturer of auto bodies. Part of the reason for their success was the development of interchangeable wooden body parts that did not have to be hand-fitted, as was the case in the construction of carriages. This required the design of new precision woodworking tools.

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

From its beginning in the "horseless carriage shop" in Norwalk, Ohio, to its sale in 1919 and 1926 to General Motors, the Fisher Body Company was built by the Fisher brothers into one of the world's largest manufacturing companies.

The company owned convert|160000|acre|km2 of timberland and used more wood, carpet, tacks, and thread than any other manufacturer in the world. It had more than 40 plants and employed more than 100,000 people, and pioneered many improvements in tooling and automobile design including closed all-weather bodies.

Fisher Body's contribution to the war effort in both World War I and World War II included the production of both airplanes and tanks. Alfred J. Fisher was Aircraft Director for Fisher Body.

On August 14, 1944, the Fisher brothers resigned from General Motors to devote their time to other interests, including the Fisher Building on West Grand Boulevard in Detroit. The brothers also mounted a bid to take-over Hudson Motors, but their tender offer fell short of its market value and the effort was rejected by stockholders.

On January 19, 1972, the last of the Fisher brothers died. The seven brothers donated millions of dollars to schools, churches, and other charitable causes and were active in directing those endeavors.

The Fisher family has continued on in the automotive industry with Fisher Corporation (metal stamping), General Safety (seat belts), Fisher Dynamics (seat mechanisms & structures), and TeamLinden (seat mechanisms).

On July 22, 2008, Fisher Coachworks, LLC was launched with Gregory W. Fisher, grandson of Alfred J. Fisher, as CEO. The new company is developing a prototype of the GTB-40, a hybrid-electric 40' transit bus that uses Nitronic™, a stainless steel alloy developed by Autokinetics of Rochester Hills, Michigan that allows the bus to be half the nominal weight of a standard transit bus and achieve twice the fuel economy. [ [ Fisher Coachworks Launch Rekindles 100-Year History] ]

Fisher milestones:

* 1930 - Slanted windshields for reduced glare
* 1933 - "No-Draft" ventilation
* 1934 - One-piece steel "turret top" roofs
* 1935 - Former Durant Motors plant in Lansing, Michigan, opens
* 1936 - Dual windshield wipers
* 1969 - Fisher's "Side Guard Beam" is introduced
* 1974 - Invented the ignition interlock system
* 1974 - Produced GM's first airbag
* 1975 - Fisher develops GM's first all-metric vehicle, the Chevrolet Chevette
* 1983 - Fisher Body and Buick division's Flint, Michigan, operations are combined as Buick City
* 1984 - The Lansing factory is melded with Buick-Oldsmobile-Cadillac to become Lansing Car Assembly
* 1990 - Fisher closes Elyria, OH, facility
* 2008 - Fisher Coachworks, LLC officially launches and begins development of the GTB-40 transit bus


The General Motors "Body by Fisher" advertising campaigns were legendary and brought many artists to the attention of the American public. McClelland Barclay used artwork showing fashionable women to promote the image of comfort and style. Edgar de Evia photographed a large campaign for them through Kudner Advertising in the 1950s using leading name models, haute couture from top designers often with huge location production budgets.

= References =

External links

* [ Fisher Body at Car of the century] [ Fisher Coachworks, LLC]

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