"On the Fritz", Origin?

Posted by Word Camel on April 03, 2002

My coffee maker is "on the Fritz". It takes 30 minutes to fill the flask. But enough of my misfortunes, there is still the discussion forum.

I looked up "fritz" on the American Heritage dictionary which defined it as "A condition in which something does not work properly: Our television is on the fritz". It speculated that it may be from Frederich.

Does anyone know the origin of this? Is it some sort to anti-German slur from the war? I'm just curious and having to wait a long time for my coffee.