Georg Fischer I

(14 July 1804 - 3 October 1888)

After his schooling in Schaffhausen and training at the Polytechnical Institute in Vienna, at the age of only 23, Georg Fischer I took over running the Hainfeld works founded in 1827. His father granted him a five percent stake in the firm, which was valued at 10,000 guilders. The son had to pay interest on the remaining 95 percent, which remained the father's property. In return, the son was entitled to one third of the profits. In 1833 Georg Fischer I bought a plant consisting of the cast steel works in the so-called "Auwerk", the file factory in the village and a spindle works in Traisen, Lower Austria, where his brother Berthold (1807-1879) later operated a foundry for malleable cast iron and steel. In 1835, the Hainfeld plant won the bronze medal at the Austrian Commercial Products Fair. The Fair Report stressed that orders for Fischer's products had increased to such an extent in a short time that he was already able, in 1833, to expand the Hainfeld works by the acquisition of a hammer mill in Traisen near Lilienfeld. What prompted Fischer to set up business in nearby Traisen was the availability of water power and the fact that he could obtain charcoal pig iron from a foundry in the vicinity. In Traisen, the cast steel was formed into spindles for spinning machines for use in the cotton industry.

An industrial network

Georg Fischer I also soon built up a network with the local industrialists. In 1833 he married his first wife, Seraphine Reiter, the daughter of the scythe manufacturer Leopold Reiter in Opponitz. One of the reasons that Johann Conrad Fischer opened his mill here was the region's flourishing scythe industry. In 1854, Fischer inherited the Schaffhausen works from his father and in 1855 he began to completely reorganize and modernize the mills, which had been closed. In the meantime, his son, Georg Fischer II, was running the family business in Hainfeld. By the end of the 1850s, the reorganization of the Schaffhausen works had been completed, and in 1864 Fischer sold them to his son, Georg Fischer II. By 1856, Hainfeld was already employing over 150 people, many of them from the parent company in Schaffhausen. When, in 1886, Georg Fischer – by then over 80 – announced that he was moving his Viennese sales office, which now included a department for the exchange of files, his crucible steel factory was producing a wide range of crucible steels that were rolled or hammered into rods and plates. His range included hammers, anvils, rollers, scissors, drills, chisels, thread cutters, bench vices, spanners and wrenches, "all manner of machine knives", files, rasps and saws, and he especially mentioned the "sharpening of dull files". The product range was largely similar to that offered by Schaffhausen, which in the meantime had begun offering several popular articles. Georg Fischer I ran the Hainfeld mill until his death in 1888.