Fisher Body - Tuesday, February 2, 2016

We received an interesting question the other day regarding Fisher Body, and the relationship the automotive production company has/had with Cadillac.  Inspired, we decided to devote today's blog to the company.  We are continually surprised by the complexity of the relationships within the automotive industries, and Fisher is a perfect example of this.  The company dates to 1908, when the Fisher Brothers (Frederick, Charles, William, Lawrence, Edward, Alfred and Howard) started building chassis for the newfangled automobiles in the General Motors Company.  Actually, the Fisher name goes back farther than that, when Albert Fisher established the Standard Wagon Works in Detroit, Michigan, during the 1880's.  Brothers Fred and Charles went to work for him before going off on their own and bringing their five brothers into the business.

Transforming carriage manufacturing into automotive bodies was not as simple as it may seem. The vibrations caused by an engine tended to pull apart carriages, so the Fisher brothers had to reconfigure the bodies of their cars.  But they did it right.  Their first contract was with Cadillac, but they would eventually provide autobodies for Ford, Buick, Chevy, Oldsmobile, Studebaker, and numerous other companies.  By 1913, they were producing over 100,000 car bodies for clients.  Just three years later, they were making 370,000 bodies and were easily the largest producer of car bodies in the world, with their production largely occurring in Detroit, but also in factories around the United States and in Canada.  In 1919, the president of General Motors, William C. Durant, bought 60% of Fisher Body, and gradually absorbed it into GM.  

One of the primary legacies of Fisher Body is something called an enclosed automobile.  Back in the early 1900's, it was a huge novelty to have a car in which the driver and passengers were not exposed to the elements.  Fisher created shell-like forms that protected them - the type of car that is standard today.  At their peak, they had forty separate factory buildings, employed over 100,000 workers, and owned 160,000 acres of land, in part so they could exploit trees for the wooden elements of the vehicles.
QUESTION:  In 2008, the grandson of Alfred Fisher, Alfred, launched what new business?
A)  Fisher Body II
B)  Fisher Coachworks
C)  Fisher Automotive
D)  Fisher Airlines
ANSWER BELOW

ALL ABOARD!!!  On this day in 1913, one of the most famous train terminals in the world opened for use:  Grand Central Station in New York City.  Financed by transportation titan Cornelius Vanderbilt, it is not only a magnificent and beautiful structure to this day, but also one of the most complicated train stations in the world.

MR. DICKEY.  It is a rare thing when a man is less famous than his work, but James Dickey can most definitely be put in that category.  His birth on this day in 1923 in no way would have indicated where his fame would come from.  A high school football star, a radar operator during World War II, Dickey turned to teaching after the war.  And writing.  He gained admiration for his poetry, but his most famous novel was Deliverance, published in 1970.  Two years later, it became a famous (and infamous) film starring Burt Reynolds.

QUOTE:  A poet is someone who stands outside in the rain and hopes to be struck by lightning. - James Dickey

ANSWER:  B)  Fisher Coachworks