In 1904 and 1905, two Fisher brothers came to Detroit, Michigan to work in the first "horseless carriage" body shops. In 1908 they decided to go into business for themselves as the Fisher Body Company.
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 vibrations of the new motorcars. It’s an example of innovative forward thinking from the start.
The Fisher brothers' answer to the "horseless carriage" in the early era of Fisher Body Co.
Advent of the Automobile Body
By 1913, the Fisher Body Company had the capacity to produce 100,000 cars per year. Customers included: Ford, Krit, Chalmers, Cadillac, Oldsmobile and Studebaker. Part of the reason for their success was the development of interchangeable wooden body parts that did not have to be hand-fitted. 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.
Fisher Body pioneered closed automobile bodies for mass produciton
Roaring Progress in the Twenties
From its beginning, 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. Five years after the agreement with GM, production leaped from 135,000 units to 575,000 units, and in another year, it passed the million mark. The company had more than forty plants, employed more than 100,000 people, and pioneered many improvements in tooling and automobile design including closed all-weather bodies.
The first use of automotive lacquer in 1923, vital in the attainment of volume production
Great Advances in Body Construction
The depression didn’t slow down the company as Body by Fisher improvements continued with Fisher being first to stamp moldings into body panels. In 1933 came a series of contributions to body construction, including No Draft Ventilation which is recognized as one of the greatest contributions to the health and comfort of motorists ever devised. Another industry-leading Fisher development, the one-piece Turret Top, came in 1935 and was formed from a sheet of seamless stainless steel.
The solid steel Turret Top was a major body improvement
Fisher Body Goes to War
In 1944, the Fisher brothers resigned from General Motors to devote their time to other interests, including the magnificent Fisher building on West Grand Boulevard in Detroit. Fisher Body's contribution to the war effort in both WWI and WWII included both the production of airplanes and tanks. Before the conversion to military manufacturing in 1942, Fisher Body had built more than 21,000,000 automobile bodies.
Fisher skills earned the Navy "E" for Excellence in production
Leadership Runs in the Family
Alfred J. Fisher, one of the seven Fisher brothers, could see his three sons—Alfred J. Fisher, Jr., Robert C. Fisher and Walter W. Fisher—had the entrepreneurial traits, instincts and creativity needed to start and run their own business. With Alfred Sr.’s help and encouragement, the three boys started a new business in 1947, and began manufacturing metal stampings at a plant located in Ferndale, Michigan. Even the company name had a creative twist. They called it Alrowa Metal Products, which was taken from the names of the three brothers (AL-fred, RO-bert, WA-lter).
The next generation further strengthens the Fisher presence in automotive manufacturing
Keep Pace with a Growing Market
The 1950s saw more and more Americans enjoying the pride of automobile ownership. In 1953, the growing business needed additional space. Property was purchased on Maple Road in Troy, Michigan and construction of a new building began. In 1956, the company moved all operations from Ferndale to Troy. The name was changed from Alrowa Metal Products to Fisher Industries, then to Fisher Corporation. In the years that followed, the business continued to grow.
Leading the Way in Safety
In the early 1960s, there was increased public pressure to improve automobile safety, resulting in laws requiring the installation of seat belts. In 1965, General Motors needed additional sources to supply the millions of safety belts required for their vehicles. To fill the demand, Fisher elected to create a new company—and General Safety was born. The first customer was Cadillac and production began in the summer of 1965.
But Our Mission Continues
In 1973, Alfred J. Fisher III returned from the Army Rangers and became part of the team. In 1980, Michael Fisher graduated from Georgetown University and joined the company. Walter and Bob Fisher subsequently sold their interests in the companies to A.J. Fisher and his family.
The Birth of Fisher Dynamics
The requirement for another automobile safety item surfaced in the late 1970s: a device to secure the front seat in a crash situation. This resulted in the development of the seat-back latch and the birth of Fisher Dynamics in 1980.
A Powerful Past Brings Us to an Exciting Future
In 1995, after the sale of General Safety, the Corporate identity was changed to Fisher & Company. The new Company was comprised of Fisher Corporation and Fisher Dynamics. Alfred Fisher, III became President of Fisher & Company, his brother Michael remained as President of Fisher Dynamics and Alfred J. Fisher, Jr. continued as Chairman of Fisher & Company.
Flexing Our Global Muscles
As we moved into the new millennium, Fisher & Company continued to grow. Fisher Corporation expanded their Troy, MI campus and welcomed Alfred J. Fisher IV as Vice President. Our global expansion began during this time with the launch of Fisher Dynamics Europe in 2003, followed by facilities in China, India and Mexico. As we continue to grow, innovation, insight and excellence are as strong today as they were when the company first opened its doors.