“Goodbye powder flash…meet flash synchronization!” Honoring the man who invented it


posted Tuesday, February 9, 2016 at 11:07 AM EST

Prolific German inventor Artur Fischer has died at the age of 96. His company, Fischerwerke, announced that Artur Fischer passed away on January 27th at his home in the southwestern German town of Waldachtal.

Among his many inventions, Fischer was the creator of the first synchronized camera flash. He patented his synchronized flash invention in 1947 when he invented the technology to make images of his newborn daughter. In 2015, he told the Der Spiegel magazine, "At the time, you could only use a powder flash for interior shots, which you had to ignite with a cord. It was dangerous, and the picture quality was poor because the subject usually blinked at the flash."

The trained locksmith developed a synchronized mechanism for triggering the flash when the camera's shutter released. Agfa purchased Fischer's device, beginning Fischer's seven-decade long affair with solving society's technical problems. Perhaps his most famous invention came in 1958 when he invented the drywall anchor, which Der Spiegel said made Fischer to do-it-yourself home repair "what Bill Gates was to the personal computer."

Artur Fischer holding his patented drywall anchor. Image credit: Fischerwerke

In total, Fischer had over 1,100 patents to his name, which puts him ahead of Thomas Edison (who he apparently didn't like to be compared to, citing Edison as having stolen many ideas from others). Born on New Year's Eve in 1919 in what is now Waldachtal, the son of a tailor, Fischer was encouraged to explore his gift for mechanics by his mother, who helped her son set up a workbench and purchased him an Erector Set-like toy. After serving in the German military during World War II and becoming a prisoner-of-war, Fischer began working for an engineering company. Two years later in 1948, Fischer founded the Fischerwerke, which today employs around 3,800 people and manufacturers 14 million drywall anchors per day, among its many other projects.

Fisher received the European Inventor Award for lifetime achievement in 2014.

(Seen via The New York Times and The Telegraph. Index image credit: Ullstein Bild)