1924 – 1949

The successful story of the Fischer ski factory begins in a modest wooden barn at Ufergasse 4 in Ried. It is here that on 18 April 1924 Josef Fischer rents a two-room flat for the family in a house belonging to August Schuldenzucker and an adjacent wooden barn with a washroom as a workshop. The owner not only demands 125 gold crowns as annual rent, he also requests that a certain amount of cash be on hand at all times. Fischer borrows the money for this from relatives, farmers in the Innviertel region.


On 18 July 1924 Josef Fischer registers the trade of “wagon making and the manufacture of wooden products” at Ried im Innkreis district authority. The premises are inspected for approval by the district officials on 10 September. One week later Josef Fischer is granted the right to use his “premises to carry out the trade of wagon making with machinery” subject to several conditions.

As the money from his relatives is not sufficient, the journeyman wagon maker looks for an associate. Initially, his cousin Rachbauer was to take on this role, but he declines the offer, although he still works for Fischer. Instead, someone from outside the family becomes Josef Fischer’s partner: Georg Grösslbauer, likewise a wagon maker and a former colleague at Schmied wagon makers. This is why the company is called “Skifabrik Fischer & Grösslbauer” for decades.


The newly founded company starts out with the manufacture of toboggans and rack wagons. This requires special machines which are not available on the market. Josef Fischer, who had become familiar with the principle of industrial manufacturing at Steyr-Werken, designs a wooden belt saw himself, based on his own drawing. Georg Grösslbauer concentrates on building models, works on milling and also sharpens saw blades and other blades. “Grösslbauer had a little money. He always worked hard but was against making progress,” remembers Maria Fischer. “He was always obstructive because he didn’t want to expand the company. Whenever my husband bought a new machine he had to keep it a secret from Grösslbauer. He always used to say it was just there for testing purposes!” Grösslbauer is part of the ski factory’s development from a tiny wagon making shop to a large trading company. In 1949, however, he sells his share to Josef Fischer. Grösslbauer leaves Ried and uses the money to open a bed and breakfast in Rauris in the province of Salzburg.


The first skis are also made soon after the company starts business, as documented by an invoice dated 27 January 1925 made out to a certain Herr Klimesch of Wels: “1 pair of skis, length 220 cm”, sold for 140,000 crowns. In 1928 the company already makes 2,000 pairs of skis. It is not long before the wooden barn becomes too small. “He used to do the coating at night because the machine was in operation during the day and there was a lot of sawdust. This is why he often had to work day and night,” says Maria Fischer, talking about her husband. Fischer starts to look for a larger workshop in 1928 and finds the right place at Griesgasse 11: the disused wagon making shop owned by C. Bauer in Ried. Fischer buys the workshop on 16 July 1928 and also finds an enthusiastic colleague in C. Bauer himself. Maria Fischer has three roles: she looks after the children, makes sure the employees have enough to eat and drink and is responsible for shipping. The company moves to Griesgasse 11 in 1929, paving the way for its development into the biggest ski factory in the world.

Further stories 1924-1958