Inventor Called 'Bill Gates of Home Repair' Dies at 96
German creator Artur Fischer had more patents than Thomas Edison
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 9, 2016 10:41 AM CST

(Newser) – Think "inventor," and Thomas Edison's name will likely come to mind. But German creator Artur Fischer had a handful more patents to his name (over 1,100) than the famous US inventor (1,093), earning him a lifetime achievement award from the European Patent Office. That prolific production came to an end on Jan. 27 with Fischer's death at the age of 96 in Germany, the New York Times notes. Fischer's inspired creations ranged from his namesake Fischertechnik model-making kits (a huge hit in Germany and around the world) to a system that allowed contractors to securely insert screws into plaster or drywall. "What Bill Gates was to the personal computer, Artur Fischer is to do-it-yourself home repair," a 2015 Der Spiegel article on Fischer said.

Fischer, whose mom encouraged his obvious mechanical skills from a young age, came up with his first patented creation in 1947: a synchronized camera flash that could safely take pictures of his newborn daughter. And while creativity and intelligence always play a role in an inventor's workflow, so, in this case, does persistence: The man whom the Week calls an "inventor extraordinaire" recently came up with a device that can neatly slice the tops off of eggs—an invention he had been working on since 1946, the Times notes. "It's always the same process," he once said, per the Telegraph. "At first you don't know what it is that you want, just that you want something." His company, Fischerwerke GmbH, bid Fischer farewell, noting that he "devoted his life, beyond commercial interests, to the common good and the fostering of young inventors," per the Globe and Mail.