Reprint from the NYTimes

A young Austrian apprentice wagon maker, Josef Fischer, decided to strike out on his own in 1924 in the trade of “wagon making and the manufacture of wooden products.” He started off with toboggans and then, the next year, he made a pair of skis. They were cut from locally grown beech or brook ash — no one is really sure — and measured 220 centimeters long. He sold them for the princely sum of 140,000 crowns.

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