• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3
The Local List
Germany's late 'patent king's' five greatest inventions
Artur Fischer with a jumbo-sized model of his invention, the wall plug or screw anchor. Photo: DPA.

Germany's late 'patent king's' five greatest inventions

DPA/The Local · 29 Jan 2016, 18:06

Published: 29 Jan 2016 17:22 GMT+01:00
Updated: 29 Jan 2016 18:06 GMT+01:00

From edible children's toys to a tool that DIY fanatics can't live without, Artur Fischer's long list of inventions was diverse to say the least.

Fischer died on Wednesday in the Black Forest town of Waldachtal, Baden-Württemberg, "peacefully in his sleep at home surrounded by family," his company Fischerwerke announced on Friday.

Fischer was most well-known for inventing the plastic dowel - also known as a wall plug or screw anchor - which was a boon to the do-it-yourself construction world as it helps to fasten a screw to brittle or porous walls and material.

By his death, Fischer had more than 1,100 patents and utility models (like a patent, but for a shorter term), earning him the unofficial title of "patents king". This number also put him in league with American inventor Thomas Edison, who has 1,093 patents.

The Local looks at some of Fischer's most fantastic finds.

1. Flash light photography

Fischer with his flash device. Photo: DPA.

Fischer's first patent was for synchronized flash photography in 1949. He reportedly wanted to do away with the fire hazard of the former magnesium flash technique.

2.  The wall plug

So simple, yet so useful, the wall plug Fischer invented in 1958 is a plastic tube that expands as a screw is fitted, allowing screws to be attached to material that otherwise could not support the weight of something attached to the screw.

An estimated 14 million wall plugs and anchors are produced around the world every day, according to the European Patent Office.

3. Kids' toys you can eat

 
Toys that children can play with - and without parents having to worry what might happen if the child eats them. One of Fischer's most recent creations, these moldable building blocks are made of potato starch and natural food colouring.

4. Bone fracture plugs

Photo: DPA.

Story continues below…

Fischer put his anchoring tools to another use - fixing broken bones. He invented several kinds of tools that can be used medically to mend fractures.

5. Awesome kids' construction sets

The fischertechnik construction sets for kids were first put on the market in 1964, becoming bestsellers. These kits have become a "global standard for educational toys" because they give children an "understanding of technology and help them develop hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills, spatial awareness, logical thinking and creativity," according to the European Patent Office.

Even professional engineers have used earlier products to simulate robots and build models because of the tools' great precision.

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Erdogan to Berlin: be sensible on Armenia genocide bill
Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Photo: DPA

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday called Angela Merkel to ask for "common sense" over a resolution recognising the massacre of Armenians by Ottoman forces as "genocide", local media reported.

3 asylum seekers arrested for sexual assaults at music fest
The Schlossgrabenfest in Darmstadt. Photo: DPA

Update: Police in Darmstadt have received 14 complaints of sexual assault from women who attended a music festival in the city over the weekend.

Dalai Lama says there are 'too many' refugees in Europe
The Dalai Lama. Photo: DPA

The Dalai Lama said in an interview published Thursday that Europe has accepted "too many" refugees, and that they should eventually return to help rebuild their home countries.

Footballer Özil’s Mecca visit was unpatriotic, say AfD
Mesut Özil. Photo: DPA

When national football star Mesut Özil posted a picture of himself in Mecca on Facebook it received 21,000 ‘likes’. But Germany’s far right party see it is an act of provocation.

Star winger axed from Germany Euros squad
Marco Reus. Photo: DPA

Marco Reus endured more injury heartache with Germany on Tuesday - his 27th birthday - as he was cut from their final Euro 2016 squad, two years after missing the World Cup.

Every third child in Berlin now dependent on welfare
Photo: DPA

Child poverty is on the rise across Germany. But in the national capital and Bremen the situation is particularly severe.

Kraftwerk defeat makes Germany safe for DJs
A Kraftwerk stage show. File photo: DPA

Techno pioneers Kraftwerk have lost a near 20-year court battle over sampling - making the practice A-OK in Germany for the first time ever.

Hanover teen stabbed police officer 'on orders from Isis'
A police officer standing on a platform at Hanover main station. Photo: DPA

A 15-year-old girl who knifed a policewoman at Hanover's main train station in February may have been acting under orders from Isis terrorists, media reported on Tuesday.

Support for Merkel govt dips below 50 percent
Chancellor Angela Merkel (l) and Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel (r). Photo: DPA

Germany came in for a political first on Tuesday as a new poll showed combined support for Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition government dropped below 50 percent for the first time.

Med rescuers share human cost of refugee crisis
A refugee boat capsizes in the Mediterranean off the Libyan coast on May 25th, in an accident in which five people lost their lives. Photo: Marina Militare/Italian Navy/DPA

GRAPHIC CONTENT WARNING: A photo of a dead migrant baby pulled from the Mediterranean was published by a charity hoping to force European leaders to grant migrants safe passage, after hundreds were presumed to have died at sea last week.

Sponsored Article
Eat, learn, live: unforgettable holidays in France
National
The future belongs to these 10 German regions
Society
Pegida enraged by black children on chocolate bars
Health
New father's tragic herpes warning touches 1000s online
National
Bayer's Monsanto takeover would be 'diabolical': environmentalists
Lifestyle
10 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
Politics
MP recites explicit Erdogan bestiality poem on live TV
National
China beats Germany in readiness to help refugees
Hamburg
The headless sex doll that put Lübeck police on high alert
National
Pensioner claims to have found hidden Nazi nukes
Business & Money
Here's why Munich is worth 20 times more than Berlin
Culture
Five sure-fire ways to impress Germans with your manners
Lifestyle
6 things about Munich that will stay with you forever
Technology
Church plans to connect with faithful at Wi-Fi 'Godspots'
Technology
Online hate speech can cost users thousands of Euros
Society
Bavarians in rush for non-lethal weapons licenses
Sport
Here's Germany's Mannschaft for Euro 2016
Culture
The Syrian pianist playing his way into Germans' hearts
The parrot who flew fast enough to trigger a speed camera
Technology
New law could let free Wi-Fi bloom across Germany
Politics
Berlin's plans to beef up the German army
7,827
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd