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The inventor

Dieter Ramsauer celebrated his eightieth birthday in 2019. After the end of the second world war, one of his favorite pastimes was playing in the scrap piles in Velbert and surrounding areas. He assembled and disassembled the objects he found there and developed an understanding of how things work very early in life. When he was just 6 years old, he made the bicycle he wanted so much from parts he had found in the scrap piles. Many years and many patents later, in 1991 he founded the Dieter Ramsauer Konstruktionselemente GmbH (DIRAK).

This decision gave rise to DIRAK, a company with worldwide operations and roughly 600 employees today, featuring about 4500 catalog items in latching, hinge and fastening technology in addition to holding numerous patents.

Engineering office

Over the course of his professional career, Dieter Ramsauer gained valuable experience as a sales engineer and sharpened his perspective of customers' needs. This led for example to the development of a modularly designed quarter-turn in 1967 and a modular rod latch system in 1968.

He made himself financially independent in 1973 with a one-man engineering office, designing among other things parts for a metalworking company and developing innovative patents which were then licensed to the company where he was still working as a sales engineer based on a license agreement. This was followed in 1981 by the swinghandle, copied throughout the world today, and in 1986 by a newly developed modular rod latch that can be mounted outside of the seal in the bending area of a switch cabinet to keep the entire open width of the cabinet free.

DIRAK-SNAP-Technology (DST)

Conceived on a return flight to Germany from the USA and sketched out on a napkin, DIRAK SNAP Technology (DST) makes it possible for customers to simplify their assembly significantly, thereby reducing costs. This invention is still Dieter Ramsauer's stated favorite and it brought him a nomination as the first non-American "Engineer of the Year" in the USA.

Award

In addition to his nomination as "Engineer of the Year," Dieter Ramsauer is also pleased with the distinction of the DIRAK SNAP Technology by the design magazine "KEM." The readers of KEM magazine actually made this decision. They were presented with 10 development projects from which they were to choose the best in their opinion.

Still an inventor today

When asked what force motivates him to constantly develop new solutions and register innovative patents, Dieter Ramsauer gives as the reason his dissatisfaction with things as they are and the need to improve them. This stimulates his ambition to develop better, practical solutions that remedy these shortcomings. His passion for continuing to work meticulously at finding new solutions is driven by creativity and a wide variety of interests, his autodidactic capabilities and his practical disposition, and by what he calls the "wandering gaze". (see illustration, showing the advanced development of a fastening element for TESLA)

Dieter Ramsauer as a person – his origins

Born as the third son of toolmaker Hermann Ramsauer and his wife Franziska, Dieter Ramsauer grew up with his brother Franz-Hermann (also a toolmaker) and his sister Ellen (technical draftswoman) in Velbert, a city in Bergisches Land in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia known for manufacturing locks and hardware. What notably distinguished all members of the family were manual skills and the talent of finding practical solutions for any problem.

Dieter Ramsauer's grandfather, Heinrich Gilgen, was already a talented metalworker with great manual dexterity. His hand-crafted jewelery and handwork boxes, made in his free time, were extraordinary. He created them for his six daughters and friends. At an open competition for hobbyists organized by the former Zassenhaus brewery in his home city of Velbert in 1932 he won the first prize.

Toolmaker

Practical and skilled craftsmanship were integral to Dieter Ramsauer's life practically from birth. After completing elementary school at the age of 14, and following his father and brother, he started an apprenticeship to become a toolmaker. After that he completed technical training at the Technical-Scientific Vocational Institute (Tewifa) on Lake Constance.

Choir/music

Recorder and transverse flute study as well as singing lessons and voice training with vocal professor Maria Friesenhausen are just some of the points documenting Dieter Ramsauer's lifelong love of music. Closely associated with the Velbert choir from the time he was young, Dieter Ramsauer helped the founder of the choir, Prof. Gisbert Schneider, with organ registration. He became a lifelong friend of Schneider, now deceased. He contributed to the choir for over 35 years.

This also made it possible for him to organize musical evenings in his home with friends. A harpsichord was needed as the continuo instrument for these evenings. He did not find the sound of the commercially available musical instruments appealing, so he started building a harpsichord. His harpsichords sounded so good that even famous musicians admired these instruments, with the result that he was asked in 1979 to build a two-keyboard harpsichord for the Düsseldorf Tonhalle (concert hall).

Art enthusiast

Dieter Ramsauer's interest in philosophy and literature was also awakened at an early age, stimulated in school by his favorite teacher Eberhart Ter Nedden. The first book he ever bought was called "Wisdom of the World," a presentation of the ancient Greek philosophers and their ideas. In the field of literature, poems have always been especially meaningful to him. For example, Goethe's "The Divine“ and Conrad Ferdinand Meyer's "The Roman Fountain," which he is still able to recite, are an inspiration and model for him to this day. Dieter Ramsauer's aesthetic sense for beauty is also expressed in numerous works of art in his office.