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Ads from the Past: Fall-Line Waxes, 1957



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Ads from the Past: Fall-Line Waxes, 1957

By Seth Masia

In 1929 one of the best-known climbers in Europe emigrated to New York and began putting up first ascents in New England and then across the country. Before World War II, Fritz Wiessner (1900-1988) led major expeditions to Nanga Parbat and K2 in the Himalaya. A trained chemist, on first arriving in New York he set up a factory to manufacture paint and waxes. With the growing popularity of Alpine skiing, his Wonder Wax sold widely, Wonder Cream was a pioneering sunblock, and Leath-R-Seal waterproofed boots. Wiessner was 41 years old when the United States entered World War II, and the 10th Mountain Division wouldn’t take him as a soldier. Instead, they hired him as a consultant, and he manufactured plenty of ski wax and boot-seal for the army. After the war, Wiessner moved his business to Burlington, Vermont, and launched Fall-Line waxes. This ad, from a 1957 issue of SKI Magazine, came at a time when many skiers were confused about waxing. Most skis were still sold with celluloid or phenolic plastic bases, or with wood bases sealed with celluloid lacquer, and skis could refuse to glide in very cold or very wet snow unless correctly waxed. Wiessner, who settled in Stowe, sold the company in 1969. He continued to climb until just a year before his death, at age 88.


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