Fisher, Frederick John

Fisher, Frederick John

(1878–1941) automobile body manufacturer; born in Sandusky, Ohio. He learned carriage making from his father and in 1902 he moved to Detroit to be a draftsman for the C. R. Wilson Carriage Works. Superintendent by 1907, he was joined by his brothers, Charles T. Fisher, Alfred J. Fisher, Lawrence P. Fisher, William A. Fisher, and Edward F. Fisher. In 1908 he and his brother Charles formed the Fisher Body Company in Detroit. They were soon joined by the other brothers in a very successful business that custom built bodies for cars. In 1910 they built 150 closed bodies for Cadillac and formed the Fisher Closed Body Company (1912) as well as a Fisher Body Company in Wilkerville, Ontario, Canada. In 1916, with profits over $1 million, the companies merged into the Fisher Body Corporation with an annual capacity of 370,000 units—the largest company of its kind. In 1919 General Motors (GM) and William C. Durant bought a 60 percent interest and agreed to buy almost all of its auto bodies from Fisher for the next ten years. The Fisher family retained managerial control of the firm and after World War I built the world's largest auto body factory in Cleveland. In 1926 Fisher Body became a division of GM and each of the brothers had a post within the corporation. Frederick Fisher was a director of about 20 corporations and contributed to various educational and cultural institutions. He and his brothers remained one of the most closely bonded families in business history.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.