|In 1904, Frank “Pappy” Fischer started his own hot water and steam heating business. He worked out of his home in South St. Louis. Pappy had the material delivered directly to the job and took the streetcar with his tools. He continued as a one-man business for over 30 yearsIn 1941, a young 19 year-old Raymond “Bud” Goldkamp joined the military. Bud was discharged after three years, and then worked as a mechanical draftsman for one year before signing a contract to play baseball with a minor league team of the New York Yankees.Their two paths would cross and the business would have its first change in 1948 following World War II. After one baseball season, Bud returned to St. Louis to marry his sweetheart, Margie Fischer, Pappy’s daughter. With Margie keeping the books, Pappy and Bud worked together installing radiant heating systems during the post war housing boom. Bud recalls the three employee company with no trucks, “We used to haul pipe to the job by slipping it under the car and roping it to the front and back bumpers.”
A second major change occurred when Pappy died in 1960. As the construction trend strayed away from slab-styled homes and turned toward warm air heat and air conditioning, Bud and Margie, who inherited the business, knew they had to look in this new direction. The company signed its first contract with Sheet Metal Workers Local #36 and began employing sheet metal workers to fabricate and install ductwork.
When Bud retired in 1990, the company employed 85 people and had installed sheet metal and HVAC systems in tens of thousands of St. Louis area homes.
Today Frank Fischer/Design Aire Heating and Cooling is run by Bud and Margie Goldkamp’s six sons, who carry on the century-old family tradition of hard work and quality.