KGeorg Fischer III had more luck with the economy than his father. In
the mid-1880s, a prolonged upswing began that lasted, with
brief interruptions, until the outbreak of the First World War. This
boom was driven mainly by the new electrical engineering and chemical
industries, which compounded the growth produced by infrastructure
expansion and the appearance of the internal combustion engine. In
1895, Georg Fischer III opened a fitting mill in nearby
Singen, a project that had already been envisaged by his
father. The main reason this move was the effect of German tariffs,
which were inducing many Swiss companies to set up operations in South
Baden across the border. Another factor was the appearance on the
market in the 1890s of malleable cast iron fittings from German competitors.
To keep the company growing, capital was needed, and Georg
Fischer III met this need by transforming his firm into a joint
stock company in 1896. At the same time, he pushed ahead with
various social security benefits such as allowances for older
employees, company canteens and extensive construction of housing for
company employees. In 1898, he instituted the first workers'
commission. A crisis of overcapacity and overproduction put a dent
in the general economic upswing in 1901. The crisis did not leave
Georg Fischer unscathed, and turnover plummeted. Open discord broke
out in the Board of Directors, and in 1902 the banks forced
Georg Fischer III to step down from the company management.
However, he didn't simply retire but rather remained active in the
industry. In 1907, he introduced in Switzerland the Heroult electric
furnace for making cast steel and founded the Electric Steel
Works in Schaffhausen, which he sold to Georg Fischer in 1917.