The centenary of Alois Alzheimer's description of the case of Auguste Deter has renewed interest in the early history of dementia research. In his 1907 paper Alzheimer described the presence of plaques and tangles in one case of presenile dementia. In the same year, Oskar Fischer reported neuritic plaques in 12 cases of senile dementia. These were landmark findings in the history of research in dementia because they delineated the clinicopathological entity that is now known as Alzheimer's disease. Although much has been written about Alzheimer, only little is known about Fischer. The present article discusses Fischer's work on dementia in the context of his life and time.