The inventor of the synchronized camera flash has died. Artur Fischer, a German inventor who registered more than 1,100 patents in his lifetime — beating Thomas Edison — passed away in Germany back on January 27th, 2016. He was 96 years old.
The New York Times reports that Fischer obtained a patent for the synchronized flash system back in 1947 after struggling to photograph his newborn daughter.
“At the time, you could only use a powder flash for interior shots, which you had to ignite with a cord,” Fischer said in a 2015 interview with Der Spiegel. “It was dangerous, and the picture quality was poor because the subject usually blinked at the flash.”
So he invented a better system himself — one that triggered a flash when a camera’s shutter was released. His invention was then acquired by the camera company Agfa.
“Getting a good shot just wasn’t possible,” Fischer said in another interview with the European Patent Office. “And I said, I want to have a picture of my daughter, and if all else fails, I need to build my own flash.”
So, from flashes that are synchronized to camera shutters to hanging heavy picture frames on walls with screw anchors, the world of photography owes a lot to inventor Artur Fischer.