Fisher Wood Stoves
Fisher Wood Stove History & Specifications
Let me preface this page by stating that I have compiled the information below to provide basic history and specs. of Fisher Wood Stoves. This information comes from various resources such as online referances, newspaper articles, vintage manuals and sales literature that I have aquired over the years and is intended to make all of this info available in one place. I will continue to update as I encounter more information.
The story of Fisher Wood Stoves is that of a small scale inventor whose ideas grew beyond his control.
In 1973 Bob Fisher was working as a metal fabricator - business was slow and he was struggling to support his wife and children, while finishing building his own pole frame home.
He realized that the open stone fireplace he had painstakingly built was inadequate for heating the building and fuel prices for their oil boiler were increasing. He got the idea in his head to build an efficient stove to keep his family warm and spent months sketching, plotting and planning his first Fisher Wood Stove.
Bob Fisher had some basic criteria that he wanted from his stove, and his wife supplied some of her own:
- It had to be an airtight wood stove
Ventilation needed to be restricted and controllable with vents
It had to be able to keep a fire in over night
Carol wanted to be able to cook on the top of the stove
The stove couldn't smoke when the door was opened
The Fisher Stove had to last - this called for heavy duty steel and firebrick
With these ideas in mind Bob Fisher designed what became the very first "Papa Bear" Fisher Stove. Getting this far wasn't easy, Bob had to trade in his truck and borrow funds from his mother but once everything came together he assembled the stove, over a day or two
The Papa Bear was an instant success and soon Bob had neighbours coming to look and ask if Bob could make one for them too. With the help of another loan Bob bought materials to make ten more and built a small business making and selling stoves himself. Small businesses seldom have a smooth ride however, and Bob had trouble recruiting reliable staff and marketing these early stoves.
Eventually Bob stumbled on other people who were interested in making and selling his stoves under license. Bob sold them rights to market stoves in a territory and they paid a royalty on each stove they sold of around 6%. At this point the business started expanding rapidly, beyond the scope of individuals to manage. There were problems with people making copy-cat stoves, licensees falling behind on their royalties and issues with gaining safety accreditation from building standards boards across the USA.
The final straw came in 1976, during negotiations for a large manufacturing contract, when Bob himself had a stroke - he had burned himself out trying to do too much and take responsibility for too many problems. Under doctors orders he distanced himself from the business and spent time recovering.
Without him the business expanded and developed into a sophisticated modern business with wood stove development, marketing, sales and manufacturing arms. They expanded the original, very simple, "Papa Bear" stoves into a larger range of wood burning stoves and fireplace inserts. The newer stoves, from the 1980s on-wards, emitted very little smoke (around 6g of particulates per kg of wood burned) and met EPA requirements for clean burning.Fisher Wood Stove Models