A Letter from the Founders

When we moved into the old farm in Morrisville, Vermont on November 6, 1976, we could not have anticipated where we would end up today. We were just a couple of rower-engineers with an idea of how we might build a better oar. Today, we’re amazed at how Concept2 has grown—serving rowers and others around the world, while also becoming part of the fabric of our local community.

We obviously couldn’t have done this without you, our customers. Thank you for your interest, your ideas, your suggestions, and your enthusiasm for our products. We love hearing about how rowing has helped you get healthier, or lose weight, or re-connect with your parents or your kids, or get into college—or make the Olympic team.

As we look to the future, we remain committed to the design and production of high-quality innovative products, supported by our top-notch Concept2 Team.

Thank you for being part of our first forty years.


Dick Dreissigacker

Peter Dreissigacker

Our story in pictures Video stories


An early sketch by Co-Founder Peter Dreissigacker showing his brother, Dick, curing early oar blades in an oven. They had been building experimental oars in the kitchen of their California apartment.

An early sketch by Co-Founder Peter Dreissigacker showing his brother, Dick, curing early oar blades in an oven. They had been building experimental oars in the kitchen of their California apartment. Peter and Dick crisscrossed the country in a repurposed bread truck, in search of a place to start their business. The bread truck is still parked (in a used car lot) near Concept2 headquarters.<br><br><i>Peter Dreissigacker with the original bread truck 40 years later.</i> Concept2 started on November 6, 1976, when Founders Dick and Peter Dreissigacker, and Bari Lane (now Dreissigacker), moved into an old farm complex on Route 100 in Morrisville, Vermont. The barn was a fertile place to work on new ideas, a true “skunkworks”. This is where Concept2 carbon fiber oars were first made, and from here they were shipped to all parts of the world. Peter and Dick decide to create a winter training device for rowers. They nail an old bicycle to the floor of the barn and pull on the free end of the chain—the Model A Indoor Rower is born.<br><br><i>Dick Dreissigacker (l.) and Jon Williams (r.). Jon is still at Concept2!</i> CRASH-B, a loose organization of former national team rowers in Boston, Massachusetts, calls and is interested in hosting an indoor rowing competition.<br><br><i>The first CRASH-B Sprints. Judy Geer (2nd from right).</i>
The event is now the World Indoor Rowing Championship with 2000 plus entries. A very early version of a ski ergometer.<br><br><i>Dick Dreissigacker (l.) and Jon Williams (r.).</i> Concept2 launches the SkiErg, a training tool that brings Nordic skiing, a favorite winter cross-training option, indoors and makes it accessible to anyone. Concept2 grows too big for the barn and moves to the Morrisville Industrial Park. The neighbors are a craft paint supplier and a wood stove company. There’s also a great view of Vermont’s highest peak, Mount Mansfield.<br><br><i>Lester Farr loading the U-Haul. Lester retired in 2015.</i> Now with 12 employees, Concept2 celebrates the new facilities. The Model B Indoor Rower is launched with a revised design including an added flywheel cover for safety, improved seat, and a powerful Performance Monitor.<br><br><i>Peter Dreissigacker. Yahoo!</i> Early advertisement in the now-defunct <i>American Rowing</i> magazine.<br><br><i>Dick Dreissigacker advertising the Macon blade.</i> The Big Blade is introduced, an asymmetric hatchet-shaped blade that testing shows to be 1–2% faster than existing designs. The Big Blade is prominently used in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.<br><br><i>The first production Big Blade with a congratulating note from employees.</i> The Model C Indoor Rower is introduced. Its features include a new flywheel housing and a redesigned monorail and foot stretcher.<br><br><i>The Model C takes our products to new heights.</i> In 2000, Rob Waddell (NZ) set a new World Record of 5:39.5 for the 2,000m distance. He broke the record again in 2008 with a time of 5:36.6 that still stands today. The Smoothie blade is introduced. Similar to the Big Blade but without a central spine, it is cleaner and more efficient in the water and shows additional speed gains. The Fat2 blade (2006) is introduced, based on everything Concept2 knows about how blades move through the water. Paired with the Skinny shaft (2011), a smaller shaft diameter that provides reduced wind drag, the Fat2 and Skinny offer the greatest potential for increasing boat speed.<br><br><i>The 2012 Women’s Great 8 at The Head Of The Charles® Regatta.</i> The Model D Indoor Rower (introduced 2003) and Model E (introduced 2006) are now available in black and light gray. An updated SkiErg (introduced 2014) allows for both double-pole and single-stick technique. Olena Buryak (UKR) sets the women’s 2000m record (6:25.0). Concept2 launches the new Compact blade on the Bantam scull. The Bantam is a lower-priced scull with additional durability that maintains high performance. Founders Dick and Peter continue to innovate and personally test each product. Here they are heading out for an early morning oar-testing session in their 1984 wooden Stämpfli pair on Big Hosmer Pond, Craftsbury, Vermont. Today, Concept2 employs over 90 people in five countries worldwide. We take great pride in providing exceptional customer service and support direct from our manufacturing facilities in Morrisville, Vermont and in our offices abroad. We’re looking ahead to the next 40 years!
  • Why Vermont?

  • Why Concept2?

  • Erg Evolution

  • Terry Smythe

  • Volker Nolte

Why did you start your business in Vermont?

What does Concept2 mean?

Evolution of the Indoor Rower

Terry Smythe and UCanRow2

VOlker Nolte, Biomechanicist and Coach