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Hermann Steiner, the Swiss-born inventor of the biscuit joiner, died on November 14. He was 92 years old.
During the 1950s, after ten years operating a carpentry business in Liestal, Switzerland, Steiner set out to develop a simple method for joining the recently introduced chipboard. He came up with a system he called the Lamello Joining System, a set of tools suited mainly for large-scale carpentry work.
By the late 1960s, Steiner had improved on that design with the release of the first portable plate joiner, now more commonly known as a biscuit joiner. The tool cut mating disc-shaped slots in wood, and allowed two parts to be joined with oval-shaped wood discs. It provided a strong and speedy alternative to dowels and floating-tenon joints.
The biscuit joiner has become an industry standard for trim carpenters and woodworkers and spawned a number imitators when Steiner’s patent on the device expired.
Lamello AG, now operated out of Bubendorf, Switzerland, has grown into a multinational company that produces a variety of power tools and joinery products. Looking for similar success with its plate joiner, the company introduced in 2001 a new joining system called INVIS that uses magnetically operated screws to join parts.
Steiner remained with the company until his death.
December 20, 2005
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