Fabulous Fischer

retrowagen

Hall of Fame
Still in love with the products of the Fischer company of Ried im Innkreis, Tirol, Austria. They stopped producing racquets in Austria in 1993. Yet like many of the other ski manufacturers in the Alps (Kneissl, Voelkl, and Rossignol), they were leaders in composite research and development in the tennis industry too. Nowadays, they still make skis, and are leaders in the aerospace composites industry.

I have been a Fischer player since 1991. Here are some of my favorite Fischers in my collection:

A snapshot of the evolution of the highest performance Fischer models. Left to right: The original composite Superform (this specimen was one of Stan Smith's prostock, circa 1980); Superform Mid XL, circa 1985; Superform Open Pro, circa 1987, Vacuum Pro Mid Size (very rare 1987 first edition with open 14x19 string pattern); Vacuum Pro Mid Size (this specimen was one of Kelly Evernden's pro stock, circa 1992)


The technically very interesting Twin Tec series, a very unique and interesting grommetless, bumperless design around a Vestoran core (a material more commonly used in ski bases). Left to right: Original 1989 Midplus Vacuum Twin Tec Pro; a circa 1990 prototype Vacuum Twin Tec Mid (only 25 were produced in this colorway); an ex-Bosworth pro stock (likely kept for Justin Gimmelstob during his junior career) 1991 Vacuum Twin Tec Pro Midplus.


A selection of tapered-beam Elliptic models - my favorite Fischer mold. Left to right: 1990 Elliptic SL (super light layup); 1991 Vacuum Elliptic, 1991 Vacuum Elliptic Pro (with heavy wear!); 1992 Elliptic Graphite Performance
 

Sanglier

Semi-Pro
You need a wider angle lens or stand on a stool, Retro. :) Are the Fischer prostock frames different from production models under the paint, or are they simply selected and tuned for the specific players?
 

retrowagen

Hall of Fame
Yeah, sorry; my multi-racquet photo skills need some refinement, and I could use a new lens - the trusty Nikon f2.8 35-70mm AF zoom that took this image has been well-used all over the world, and has taken a few hits and falls on my adventures, and isn't as clear as it used to be.

In regards to Fischer pro stock frames of the 80's and early 90's: it was my understanding that the frames used production layup bases, and for the most part, production color and graphics schemes. One notable exception was a discontinued monoshaft model, prepared for Fischer's top ATP pro in 1986, Anders Jarryd, in a color and graphics scheme of a newer model. Otherwise, tuning happened at a player services office at Ried in Austria (for European-based players, or the top tier of Fischer-sponsored pros), or at a satellite office in Maryland, USA (for US- based pros, college or satellite players - my ex-Evernden specimen was supplied out of this shop). Otherwise, bulk stocks could be arranged to be customized by other tuning companies (such as Bosworth - my ex-Fischer contact's best guess on my Bosworth Twin Tec Pro was that it was one of a batch brought to Bosworth by Gimmelstob's dad, who bought a bunch of them for Justin to use in 1991). Tuning comprised mostly of weight placement and balance matching. Fischer produced their most popular performance models of this era - notably, the Vacuum Pro mid size - in several 'factory' weights (SL, L, LM), so getting close to a base spec was easy.
 

joe sch

Legend
Nices pictures. Love the composite shot showing the evolution from the monoshaft superforms to the classic open throat Vacuum Pro models.
 

vsbabolat

G.O.A.T.
Fantastic photos and beautiful racquets @retrowagen ! I should take some photos of my favorite HEAD frames. I loved the composite racquets by the ski companies. They always made racquets that were not too stiff and always had great feel.
 
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retrowagen

Hall of Fame
Yes, it's an interesting phenomenon: some of the world's finest tennis racquets were produced in the Alps. Also, many of the world's finest automobiles are produced in, or within a few hundred km of the Alps!
 

dak95_00

Hall of Fame
The only Fischer I have and it's also the only one I own in the Vacuum Pro Mono. It's very flexy and I like it. I just like the Prince Mono more because of the overall heavier weight.
 

vsbabolat

G.O.A.T.
@retrowagen have you tried any of the Pacific frames yet? I would think that's something that you would like. The new X Force Pro No. 1 and X Tour Pro 97 look really interesting. Two classic Fischer molds that have been resurrected.
 

bradfordt

New User
retro, many thanks for sharing pics of your Fischer collection with us. it was your descriptions and obvious affection for the racquets that got me started on my own collection. I recently scored a couple of Elliptic Pros - they're pretty worn and the grommets are cracked - but even so they're just awesome racquets.
 

retrowagen

Hall of Fame
@vsbabolat, thanks for the heads-up on those models! I hadn't heard that Pacific had dusted off those old Fischer molds.

It would be great to see a tour through Head's tennis history via your collection. I think the only Heads I have left are a bunch of Elite Pros, a TXE, and a Vilas. Oh, and the one I keep on the end of my neck!
 
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retrowagen

Hall of Fame
@bradfordt , thank you for the kind words. I would guess that your Fischer collection must be approaching mine by now, but what you see above is roughly one-third of my Fischers.
 

Kalin

Legend
Still in love with the products of the Fischer company of Ried im Innkreis, Tirol, Austria. They stopped producing racquets in Austria in 1993. Yet like many of the other ski manufacturers in the Alps (Kneissl, Voelkl, and Rossignol), they were leaders in composite research and development in the tennis industry too. Nowadays, they still make skis, and are leaders in the aerospace composites industry...
Fabulous Fischers indeed!! :cool: Thanks, RW, for the great pics. Always loved Fischers, was hardly ever good enough to play with one :( Demanding sticks...
 

Don't Let It Bounce

Hall of Fame
Always loved Fischers, was hardly ever good enough to play with one.
Same here. What I think I'm noticing now that I'm in my 50s, happily, is that the factors that influence performance far more than rackets do have deteriorated so much my results don't take an especially drastic hit when I pick up a smaller-headed stick. I also find that I'm getting increasingly persnickety about what I want impact with the ball to feel like, so I'll keep my Fischers even if I do ever wise up and start cleaning out the closet.

A couple of years ago I was waxing poetic about Fischers to a buddy who thinks (not without cause) that they aren't right for me. He's a devout Christian, so I tried to convince him that all that business in the New Testament about becoming "fishers of men" was a mistranslation from the Greek, and that Jesus was actually exhorting the apostles to become "Men of FIscher". (He thought that was way less funny than I did.)
 

Kalin

Legend
A couple of years ago I was waxing poetic about Fischers to a buddy who thinks (not without cause) that they aren't right for me. He's a devout Christian, so I tried to convince him that all that business in the New Testament about becoming "fishers of men" was a mistranslation from the Greek, and that Jesus was actually exhorting the apostles to become "Men of FIscher". (He thought that was way less funny than I did.)
He-he, this is so funny. But, even though I'm not religious, I fully agree with your friend- you were wrong and way out of line! Everyone knows Jesus was a Prince man... ;)
 

retrowagen

Hall of Fame
A couple of years ago I was waxing poetic about Fischers to a buddy who thinks (not without cause) that they aren't right for me. He's a devout Christian, so I tried to convince him that all that business in the New Testament about becoming "fishers of men" was a mistranslation from the Greek, and that Jesus was actually exhorting the apostles to become "Men of FIscher". (He thought that was way less funny than I did.)
Haha! If the Apostles were Men of Fischer, they'd most certainly "enter His courts with praise!" (Psalm 100:4)

Maybe bears mentioning in passing that Stan Smith is both a devout Christian, and the first really big-name Fischer pro.
 

Zodd

Hall of Fame
Great selection and pics! Fischer frames were just quality through and through. I played the Vacuum Classic 280 for many years and have a pair of the vacuum pro mid 1987 which i play regularly - impressive spin for a true players frame even with syngut or even multis in them :)

How would you describe the feel/playbility etc between the -87 and -92/Stich version?
 

Zodd

Hall of Fame
Fantastic photos and beautiful racquets @retrowagen ! I should take some photos of my favorite HEAD frames. I loved the composite racquets by the ski companies. They always made racquets that were not too stiff and always had great feel.
Absolutely agree. Wonder why this is, perhaps skis and racquets have some important properties in common that relates to feel.
 

retrowagen

Hall of Fame
How would you describe the feel/playbility etc between the -87 and -92/Stich version?
Both are equally extremely manoeuverable, solid and plush in feel. The cyan blue earlier model, with the open string pattern, gives a little more bite on the ball for spin, and feels just a bit more "elastic" on the ball... An attribute that can sometimes be a little hard to describe, but which the Germans have an excellent word for: Ballbeschleunigung.

The 1993-on Taiwanese-made Vacuum Pro 90's - which, despite all indications to the positive, were NOT molded with the proprietery Fischer "Vacuum Technic" evacuation process (the equipment for which only existed in the Ried factory, evidently) are further different in feel: more crisp, but still more comfortable and "warm" feeling than anything I can think of, short of the 1988 Head Elite Pro or perhaps the Austrian-made Head Pro Tour 630.
 

Zodd

Hall of Fame
Both are equally extremely manoeuverable, solid and plush in feel. The cyan blue earlier model, with the open string pattern, gives a little more bite on the ball for spin, and feels just a bit more "elastic" on the ball... An attribute that can sometimes be a little hard to describe, but which the Germans have an excellent word for: Ballbeschleunigung.

The 1993-on Taiwanese-made Vacuum Pro 90's - which, despite all indications to the positive, were NOT molded with the proprietery Fischer "Vacuum Technic" evacuation process (the equipment for which only existed in the Ried factory, evidently) are further different in feel: more crisp, but still more comfortable and "warm" feeling than anything I can think of, short of the 1988 Head Elite Pro or perhaps the Austrian-made Head Pro Tour 630.
Agree with your description the pro vacuum mid cyan - solid, plush and with impressive spin. My 280 Classic played softer (superbly comfortable) but a hint too mushy when rallying hard. Phenomenal touch on volleys an drop shots though. Never had the chance to hit with the later versions unfortunately - would you say they feel flexier or stiffer than the cyan version?

Interesting regarding the manufacturing! - so were any of the Stich colourscheme (blue/pink/black) made using the true vacuum technique?
 

retrowagen

Hall of Fame
Never had the chance to hit with the later versions unfortunately - would you say they feel flexier or stiffer than the cyan version?
I think the later, Austrian-made 16x20s feel minutely stiffer, and minutely more muted, by virtue of their denser stringbed - all strung otherwise identically, of course.

Interesting regarding the manufacturing! - so were any of the Stich colourscheme (blue/pink/black) made using the true vacuum technique?
Yes, those made up until some point in 1992 or early 1993, were marked "Made in Austria" and truly were. Asian-made models received an oval-shaped sticker on the shaft, saying "Fischer Austria," which can be misleading...
 

Don't Let It Bounce

Hall of Fame
Haha! If the Apostles were Men of Fischer, they'd most certainly "enter His courts with praise!" (Psalm 100:4)
Nice! If I ever make that joke again I'm adding this to it.

He-he, this is so funny. But, even though I'm not religious, I fully agree with your friend- you were wrong and way out of line! Everyone knows Jesus was a Prince man... ;)
Oddly enough, it was my Prince frames that my buddy was urging me to use instead! Maybe you and he have a mystical insight that I lack...
 

Don't Let It Bounce

Hall of Fame
My 280 Classic played softer (superbly comfortable) but a hint too mushy when rallying hard. Phenomenal touch on volleys an drop shots though.
Is the 280 Classic basically a same-mold, light (i.e., 280g unstrung) version of the Vac Pro Classic?

I've seen photos of a 280 Classic that I thought were absolutely gorgeous, one of my favorite paint schemes ever. In fact, hold on a minute... If I have successfully navigated Photobucket, they look like this (photos taken by a seller on the big auction site):


 

Kalin

Legend
Is the 280 Classic basically a same-mold, light (i.e., 280g unstrung) version of the Vac Pro Classic?

I've seen photos of a 280 Classic that I thought were absolutely gorgeous, one of my favorite paint schemes ever. In fact, hold on a minute... If I have successfully navigated Photobucket, they look like this (photos taken by a seller on the big auction site):


What a gorgeous frame ... (drool)
 

Zodd

Hall of Fame
Is the 280 Classic basically a same-mold, light (i.e., 280g unstrung) version of the Vac Pro Classic?

I've seen photos of a 280 Classic that I thought were absolutely gorgeous, one of my favorite paint schemes ever. In fact, hold on a minute... If I have successfully navigated Photobucket, they look like this (photos taken by a seller on the big auction site):
Yep, that's my old baby alright - agree it's a real classy finsh/paint scheme. The likes of which imo just isn't to be found on newer frames :( The laquer also held up superbly well iirc, my stick saw a lot of use and there were hardly any chipping.

I don't know how similar this is to the same era vacuum pro because i've only played the older ones (cyan coloured ones in my pics). I was always under the impression that the vacuum pro frame was slightly thinner but i can't verify this as of now. As i said previously, my 280 played a bit softer/plusher than my cyan vacuum pros. retrowagen seems to be really knowledgeable regarding fischer frames and can perhaps answer this straight away.
 

retrowagen

Hall of Fame
That Vacuum Classic 280 was a bit of an oddity. Not at all from the same mold as the midplus Vacuum Pro Classic 98, IIRC it was current in 1994 and 1995, was Taiwanese produced (thus not "real" Vacuum Technic), and from a constant-beam mold shared with an equally pretty Elliptic (which confusingly went from a tapered-beam mold to a constant-beam mold around 1994). I believe the layup is Graphite-fiberglass. I'd contact my ex-Fischer project manager friend to ask him the particulars, but he passed away earlier this year.

Here's some pix of that later Elliptic:





It is a rather wispy aerodynamic beam section on the Vac 280... Not much material there, and without extra material (and the weight accorded for it), with a hoop of that size, you can expect it to be rather soft.
 
A friend of mine uses the Fische Fun Open and swears by them.. Dofter frame with stable yet swift around the net and on return. Anyone knows that racket?
 

retrowagen

Hall of Fame
A friend of mine uses the Fische Fun Open and swears by them.. Dofter frame with stable yet swift around the net and on return. Anyone knows that racket?
That was available circa 1992-1993, and was a 98-square inch midplus with the Fischer-default 16x20 pattern and a constant beam width. It had a layup that was approximately 50:50 graphite fiberglass, and was considered by Fischer to be a downmarket frame for beginners and club players. It was a remarkably decent frame with good balance, power, and control for the price, and fairly easy on the arm.
 

jxs653

Professional
Yeah, sorry; my multi-racquet photo skills need some refinement, and I could use a new lens - the trusty Nikon f2.8 35-70mm AF zoom that took this image has been well-used all over the world, and has taken a few hits and falls on my adventures, and isn't as clear as it used to be.
You seem to know about photography too since you mentioned this lens. It's been well regarded one among Nikon users.

I once was intrigued by their mono-shaft racquet (Kneissl made some too) but never had a chance to have it. And of the racquets in your pictures it's the one I like to try the most.
 

retrowagen

Hall of Fame
You seem to know about photography too since you mentioned this lens. It's been well regarded one among Nikon users.
Photography is indeed another area of my expertise. My paternal grandfather gave me my first good camera, a Mamiya SLR, when I was 16, and at the same time, my step-grandfather was a staff photographer with National Geographic magazine. In my 20’s, interspersed with university time, tennis tournaments, and later, work, I did a lot of fine art photography work (mostly with old Rolleiflex, Leica, or Exakta gear), and occasionally exhibitions. I was very lucky and honored to learn the darkroom craft and black and white printing from the gentleman who was the last darkroom assistant to the late Ansel Adams. I’m still not sure how that happened, but humbly am thankful for it.

Now, 30 years later, I shoot mostly with stout older digital Nikon gear… D2x and D200 bodies. I use Nikon AF lenses, or my classic German glass primes from my collection of Exakta gear, with adapters. I haven’t done any darkroom work in at least ten years now.
 
That was available circa 1992-1993, and was a 98-square inch midplus with the Fischer-default 16x20 pattern and a constant beam width. It had a layup that was approximately 50:50 graphite fiberglass, and was considered by Fischer to be a downmarket frame for beginners and club players. It was a remarkably decent frame with good balance, power, and control for the price, and fairly easy on the arm.
Ok Sounds good.. What RA flex rating would you guess it had??
 

jxs653

Professional
Photography is indeed another area of my expertise. My paternal grandfather gave me my first good camera, a Mamiya SLR, when I was 16, and at the same time, my step-grandfather was a staff photographer with National Geographic magazine. In my 20’s, interspersed with university time, tennis tournaments, and later, work, I did a lot of fine art photography work (mostly with old Rolleiflex, Leica, or Exakta gear), and occasionally exhibitions. I was very lucky and honored to learn the darkroom craft and black and white printing from the gentleman who was the last darkroom assistant to the late Ansel Adams. I’m still not sure how that happened, but humbly am thankful for it.

Now, 30 years later, I shoot mostly with stout older digital Nikon gear… D2x and D200 bodies. I use Nikon AF lenses, or my classic German glass primes from my collection of Exakta gear, with adapters. I haven’t done any darkroom work in at least ten years now.
Ansel Adams... that's something. It's like Rod Laver in tennis, isnt' it. I like to take pictures too although I am mediocre at best. I've been stubborn enough to resist going digital, and still shoot film. Just like I like old classic racquets, I like old mechanical cameras like Nikon F2, Nikomat, FM2 etc. and Rolleiflex TLR for medium format. Anyway nice talking photography in tennis forum.
 
Ansel Adams... that's something. It's like Rod Laver in tennis, isnt' it. I like to take pictures too although I am mediocre at best. I've been stubborn enough to resist going digital, and still shoot film. Just like I like old classic racquets, I like old mechanical cameras like Nikon F2, Nikomat, FM2 etc. and Rolleiflex TLR for medium format. Anyway nice talking photography in tennis forum.
Interesting.
Do you develop your film or do you have a lab nearby that does it? C41?
 

retrowagen

Hall of Fame
Interesting.
Do you develop your film or do you have a lab nearby that does it? C41?
I once had my own darkroom and lab equipment for C41 and color printing, but my passion was for black-and-white, so I really only did that. Unfortunately in conjunction with a house move, I had to sell my darkroom equipment. Ever since, I depend on labs for the development of my films, on the rare occasion I shoot film.
 
I have a Fischer Pro Comp Lite. It's odd to see "Lite" on it as it weighs 11.1 oz. I play with an MSpeed 105, which I have 4 of. Also have a Mono 6--a 110 sq in, very flexible racket, and an older Stan Smith model.
 

retrowagen

Hall of Fame
I have been using my 1991 Vacuum Elliptic frames this season. So easy to hit the ball hard with these! Good spin, too, and ball feel is worlds away so superior to anything currently available.

“They don’t make ‘em like they used to…”
 
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