Obsessed with Fridge Magnets

Obsessed with fridge magnets

Hi folks!  I thought I’d start today with a look at something that might be a nice addition the last lengthy blog about display fridges

Today I’m going to look at antiques and things of a collectible nature – a bit of memorabilia if you will.  Something that very well may not be as popular these days as they once were: the inconspicuous yet humble fridge magnet.

Fridge magnets have been around since the beginning of the seventies, patented originally by one William Zimmerman, primarily for the ‘idea’ of a small, colourful novelty item, that would serve simply to decorate and provide a small display of sorts in the home. 

Unlike conventional magnets however, those used with the household fridge magnet have a different physical makeup.  As they are not polarized at opposite ends like regular magnets, they can be ‘set’ by gently placing two fridge magnets together and rubbing slightly to align the polarity, thus giving this thin, flat magnetized surface enough attracting force to affix itself to the door of the fridge.  Producing magnets like this means that they can be manufactured at many different sizes very economically.

Letter style fridge magnets 

I’m sure you’ve seen them on many occasion throughout your life while visiting friends or relatives or even observing home interiors on television, particularly the ones that are constructed as a single bold letter of colour – usually made from plastic – with a small magnet fixed to the back to secure it to the fridge.  Having a collection of these of course means that you can rearrange the letters into words for fun or for subtle reminders of tasks that need to be completed by family members during the day.

While this type of fridge magnet is common, a whole plethora of size and type has become available and sought after since, from three-dimensional household items and antique style badges to famous characters, landmarks and travel souvenirs.  Most popular tourist destination will of course offer their own fridge magnet to capitalize on each tourist visit – anything from their own three-dimensional model of a famous nearby landmark to a variety of images of tourist hotspots printed on any number of materials shapes and styles.

More than a Hobby?

Bottle top fridge magnets 

Collecting fridge magnets has long been something of a hobby, and with many things like this it’s not difficult to imagine how something that starts innocently can grow into a more serious pastime.

When I think back to my childhood I often go back to the school summer holidays when I would spend weeks at a time at my grandmother’s house.  She was a small, sprightly little thing with a particular energy for all things new, unique and different.  She had long been retired and filled most of her days filling out coupons on cereal boxes to apply for the next batch of new product samples, or writing long letters of complaint because she thought she might have noticed what she called a ‘foreign object’ among her cornflakes.  As comical as this is nowadays, she had honed this craft over many years and was immensely successful at taking delivery of what was often a free-full-year’s supply of her favourite snack item.

For years she collected the exterior wrapper of jam jars, specifically Robertson’s jam, who around that time had an ongoing offer to provide anyone who took the time to send in a thousand or so jam jar wrappers a single decorative brooch, in the style of a well-dressed cartoon-like coloured chap with his hands in the air.  From what I can remember, she had dozens of these things, which I believe these days are very sought after and now quite valuable.  She would wear a different one each day when she left the house.  Come to think of it, she was always knitting or sewing, or more importantly sewing things on to things.  When I was around eight years old I joined the local cub scouts and she’d be thrilled if I ever came home with a new badge or two – another chance to sew something on.  She too had a fine collection of fridge magnets, and reveled in the pleasure of picking a placing and sticking it on the fridge.  While this sticking didn’t necessarily hold the same appeal as stitching,  she loved it all the same.

Looking back, it possibly was some kind of obsession.  You could liken this to some extent by considering the woman with the greatest collection of fridge magnets ever recorded.  A woman by the name of Louise J. Greenfarb from Nevada, USA.  She was entered into the Guinnes Book of Records numerous times over a twenty-year period.  The last collection was recorded in 2015 whereby she had managed to amass around 45,000 fridge magnets.  Is that dedication?  Or obsession?  You can read the full article here 

 Modern fridge magnets

Anyway, back to my dear old grandmother.  It would have been her birthday at the end of this month, and as her quirky little ways often entertained my mother and me, I think I’m going to send my mother a small fridge magnet or maybe a small collectors pack as a jovial reminder of my childhood days with my grandmother.  It didn’t take long to find a good online source either: http://www.for-sale.com/acme-refrigerator-magnets