• Germany's news in English
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

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

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)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Munich to get 'nice toilets' to serve cross-legged locals
Photo: DPA

The Bavarian capital has a pee problem - the city only has one public toilet for every 13,000 inhabitants. But a new plan could rescue desperate locals, the Süddeutsche Zeitung reports.

German kids get glowing report for their English skills
Photo: DPA.

As if multilingual Germans don't already put many English-speakers to shame, now the younger generation is improving their English skills even more.

Berlin museum controversially recreates Hitler bunker
The reconstruction of the Hitler bunker. Photo: DPA

Sensationalized or compelling history? Berlin museums clash over new Nazi bunker exhibit

Germans think they're fit, but they're really couch potatoes
Photo: DPA.

There's been an increase in the number of Germans who define themselves as "fit", but their lifestyle choices don't quite match this self-perception.

10 fascinating facts you never knew about German beer
Tennis coach Boris Becker and his wife Lilly at Oktoberfest 2016 in Munich. Photo: DPA

From malt and monks to Radlers and rivalries, the story of German beer is as rich and wonderful as its selection.

Intensive farming 'endangers a third of German species'
Photo: DPA

There are 32,000 species of animal, plant and mushroom life native to Germany. Due to intensive farming methods, one in every three of these is endangered, a new report shows.

German hospital uses therapy to 'treat' paedophiles
A poster from the campaigne "Don't offend", which offers therapy to paedophiles. The sign reads "Do you love kids more than you'd prefer? There's help." Photo: DB Scholz & Friends / DPA.

A unique German initiative is offering therapy to paedophiles to control their urges, with the aim of getting them help before they offend.

Minister: 'no tolerance' for clowns after chainsaw attack
Photo: DPA

Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière has called for a zero-tolerance approach to 'killer clowns' after a series of attacks culminating in two teenagers being chased by a clown wielding a chainsaw.

Baby who was auctioned on eBay taken away from father
Photo: DPA.

A German court ruled on Thursday that a man who put his one-month-old baby up for sale on the online auction platform eBay should only be allowed contact with the child under supervision.

Portugal's ruling party calls German minister 'pyromaniac'
Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble. Photo: DPA.

The head of Portugal's ruling Socialists called German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble a "pyromaniac" on Thursday after he criticized Lisbon for reversing course on austerity.

10 German clichés that foreigners get very wrong
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
10 ways German completely messes up your English
Germany's 10 most weird and wonderful landmarks
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd