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World

German Inventor Artur Fischer Dies At 96

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

If you walked by something hanging on a wall today, there's a good chance it is secure because of the genius of Artur Fischer. The German inventor had more than 1,100 patents to his name. That's more than Thomas Edison.

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

And today, as we learned of his death in late January, we've heard a lot of love for his drywall anchor.

TIM CARTER: Think of all the picture frames and mirrors that never fell to the ground because of this anchor.

MCEVERS: That's Tim Carter who writes the syndicated column "Ask The Builder" and runs a website by the same name. And this is what he would have said to Artur Fischer if he ever had had the chance.

CARTER: Thank you so much for saving so many millions and hundreds of millions of dollars in wall repairs.

SHAPIRO: The German paper Der Spiegel wrote last year, what Bill Gates was for the personal computer, Artur Fischer is for the handyman. And handyman Tim Carter says, before Fischer, there were wall anchors, but they didn't work very well.

CARTER: What Mr. Fischer did, he came up with this ingenious expanding plastic device that you drill a hole into the drywall or the plaster, you insert this plug in, and it had these little wings on it. And that was the key thing about his anchor that was so successful.

MCEVERS: One of Fischer's very first patents was inspired by his newborn daughter. A photographer told him there wasn't enough light to take a photo of her. And here's Fischer talking about that through an interpreter in a video by the European Patent Office.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

ARTUR FISCHER: (Through interpreter) Getting a good shot just wasn't possible. And I said, I want to have a picture of my daughter, and if all else fails, I need to build my own flash.

SHAPIRO: So he did. He came up with a way to synchronize flashbulbs to camera shutters. Before that, flashbulbs fired separately.

MCEVERS: Artur Fischer's inventions also include toy sets and medical devices. He died at his home in Germany on January 27. He was 96 years old. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.