Original Vintage Gebr. Willisch Ice Axe
The first Willisch was Josef, who started making ice ax around 1900. His ice ax featured a good mix of straight and curved picks.
His original inscription was Jos.Willisch, Bergführer, Taesch-Zermatt. A Bergführer is a mountain guide. This shows that Josef himself was also a mountain guide. Also Taesch is the same as Täsch.
Josef remained single all his life and had no children, leaving ice ax making to the sons of his younger brother Konstanz Willisch (1880-1957), who ran a blacksmith shop with him.
Constance's sons were Max and Roman. They started making ice axes around 1936. The inscription is Gebr. Willisch. Gebr. stands for Gebrüder (brother).
The older brother of the second generation brother, Max, died in 1945, but it seems that he continued to use the Gebr.
Around 1955, the inscription became exclusive to Roman. Around this time, the shape of the head began to change little by little. In other words, the blade became a curved cup shape, and there was a notch under the pick.
From around 1967, the third generation Konstanz (same name as his grandfather) also began to participate in ice ax making. Eventually, his younger brother Gottfried joined the group, so the inscription was changed to R.WILLISCH & Söhne accordingly . Sö _hne is the plural form of Sohn (meaning son).
Around 1980 after the death of the second generation Roman, the inscription simply became WILLISCH.
Even now, the third generation brothers continue to make ice ax by hand forging. The annual number of production is about 100 to 120, and it is made in bulk during the winter when the workload of the main steel frame processing industry is reduced. Custom orders are also accepted, depending on the length of the extremely short shaft or head length.
All of their ice ax making is done by the guesswork method. In other words, no rulers or rulers are used. Not only the shape of the head, but also the length of the head and the length of the fingers are all determined by long-term intuition. It is said that this was inherited from the second generation Roman, so it is thought that everything was made by eye from the time of the first generation Josef.
Gottfried's third son Roger (1975-) is currently in training to make ice ax, and Willisch's ice ax making will likely continue as long as there is demand.
Willish's factory was located in the village of Tash in the old days, and the production method was completely handmade by the first mover and the shooter. However, in 1943, the factory was rebuilt, and an electric hammer was introduced at that time to change the manufacturing method to one that does not require a hammer (this electric hammer is still used today).
In 1982, the current factory was built in the suburbs of Tasch. Ice ax making is done in a corner of the factory.
The third generation brother has an older brother named Gabriel (1943-) who is a mountain guide in Zermatt.
Same as the 3rd generation with a hole. Head length 27cm. The finger length and inscription are the same as the holeless type.
This Ice axe is in great condition!
Materials: wood, metal, canvas
Ice axe length: 80 cm
Full head length: 27 cm