Artur Fischer, who revolutionized the construction industry with his 1958 creation of the plastic expanding screw anchor, has died. He was 96.
Mr. Fischer died peacefully surrounded by his family at his home on Jan. 27, according to a statement by his company, Fischerwerke GmbH.
One of the world's most prolific inventors, with more than 1,100 patent and utility model applications to his name in Germany alone, Mr. Fischer was honoured by the European Patent Office in 2014 for his life's work. His first patent, received in 1949, was for the synchronized photo flash, which he designed to eliminate the risk of fire from magnesium-based lights used at the time.
"He devoted his life, beyond commercial interests, to the common good and the fostering of young inventors," the company said.
Mr. Fischer was born in 1919 in Tumlingen, Germany. According to the Daily Telegraph, his mother fostered his interest in engineering from a young age, buying him a Märklin construction set. He was drafted during the Second World War and became an aircraft technician in Stalingrad, surviving the siege of the city and detention in a PoW camp.
He began his company, based in Waldachtal, Germany, in 1948 and soon came up with his photographic flash device. Hundreds of other inventions would follow, including the plastic S-Plug.
The humble screw anchor, also known as a wall plug, is a tiny plastic capsule that expands as a screw is driven into a wall. It has been reproduced around the world for its ability to enable screws to be fastened in materials that otherwise wouldn't support heavy objects. He also invented several plugs used in medicine to repair broken bones.
His Fischertechnik toy construction kit, introduced in 1964, became a global standard for educational toys, giving children a basic understanding of technology.
Mr. Fischer received the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1999. He is survived by his son, Klaus Fischer, who took charge of the company in 1980, and his daughter, Margot Fischer-Weber, with whom he was embroiled in an inheritance dispute, according to a Sept. 25 report in the legal publication Juve. The company, with divisions specializing in fixings, automotive, toys and consulting, operates in 31 countries and has about 4,000 employees.
With files from Globe staff