60 years ago

Stockton company gets high school contract: The Nomellini Construction Company of Stockton was low among 16 bidders for the new commercial wing at Liberty Union High School. The bids were opened by the trustees last week, and the contract was awarded Nomellini Construction Company with a bid of $57,000. There was also an alternate involving $4,000 for an outside corridor. Work was to start as soon as the contract had been signed, and it is expected the addition to take care of bookkeeping and commercial classes, will be ready in the late spring. Meantime delay seems likely to postpone completion of the new high school gym. Steel doors, which were specified throughout, were not delivered as promised.

25 years ago

A die-hard perfectionist makes hardwood products: Ed Fischer of Pittsburg surveys the planks of wood, saws, compressors and other tools that fill his garage. Resting on a table is an unfinished wooden fireplace mantel adorned with and intricate scalloped pattern. He laments that most people today "look for something really cheap that looks good. The only thing that keeps me in business is people who demand quality," he said. "It is a commodity that's hard to come by."

Fischer Hardwood Products specializes in custom-made mantels, cabinets, China hutches, grandfather clocks and other handmade treasures. The fireplace mantles make up about 65 percent of his business, and he does about six a month, some for mansions in Orinda, Lafayette and elsewhere in the Bay Area.

"I usually go to their home, find out what their ideas are and share my ideas with them," said the 58-year-old Fischer.

When he knows what the customer wants, he designs, manufactures and installs the items. "Every mantel I make is glued and doweled," he said, while mass producers use staples and nails. Fischer had been in business for 16 years and has been in Pittsburg on Wedge Wood Drive for seven years.

-- Brentwood News and Daily Ledger news files

Though he calls himself "the highest-priced guy in California," he also says he's a die-hard perfectionist. I'm not going to sell out my quality standards to get rich." One of his favorite sayings is that "pleasure in the job puts perfection in the job."

-- Brentwood News and Daily Ledger news files