Long before History and “American Pickers” came around, Frank Fritz lived a simpler, significantly less televised life at his home in Iowa. There he worked as a fire inspector: a position that entails assessing fire hazards, implementing fire prevention measures, and ensuring that buildings are up to code for the safety of everyone in the community. According to Outsider, Fritz started himself down this career path shortly after his high school graduation in 1982 and stuck with it for roughly 25 years, maintaining his collecting habits all the while.
Speaking of, at the time, Fritz was an avid collector of firehouse and firefighter-related trinkets. It began as nothing more than a simple hobby but grew into something more in short order. Upon selling a piece for $475, making an impressive profit from the $15 he paid for it, Fritz realized that he could make a living off of this kind of business. This prompted him to open Frank Fritz Finds in 2002, before getting Antique Archaeology going with his childhood friend, Mike Wolfe — serving as the catalyst for their eventual rise to fame as the American Pickers.
Frank Fritz came from humble beginnings, turning his favorite pastime into a full-on career. Even though he’s no longer on “American Pickers,” this former fire inspector will always be a major part of its TV legacy.