Refrigerator magnet
A refrigerator magnet is an ornament, often whimsical, attached to a small magnet
A magnet is a material or object that produces a magnetic field. This magnetic field is invisible but is responsible for the most notable property of a magnet: a force that pulls on other ferromagnetic materials, such as iron, and attracts or repels other magnets.A permanent magnet is an object...

 which is used to post items such as shopping list
Shopping list
A shopping list is a list of items needed to be purchased by a shopper. Consumers often compile a shopping list of groceries to purchase on the next visit to the grocery store. The list may be compiled immediately before the shopping trip or incrementally as shopping needs arise throughout the...

s or report card
Report card
A report card communicates a student's performance. In most places, the report card is issued by the school to the student or the student's parents twice or four times yearly. A typical report card uses a grading scale to determine the quality of a student's school work...

s on a refrigerator
A refrigerator is a common household appliance that consists of a thermally insulated compartment and a heat pump that transfers heat from the inside of the fridge to its external environment so that the inside of the fridge is cooled to a temperature below the ambient temperature of the room...

 door, or which simply serves as decoration. Refrigerator magnets come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, including but not limited to images die-cut to a specific shape
The shape of an object located in some space is a geometrical description of the part of that space occupied by the object, as determined by its external boundary – abstracting from location and orientation in space, size, and other properties such as colour, content, and material...

 or tiny plastic
A plastic material is any of a wide range of synthetic or semi-synthetic organic solids used in the manufacture of industrial products. Plastics are typically polymers of high molecular mass, and may contain other substances to improve performance and/or reduce production costs...

 sculptures of fruit
In broad terms, a fruit is a structure of a plant that contains its seeds.The term has different meanings dependent on context. In non-technical usage, such as food preparation, fruit normally means the fleshy seed-associated structures of certain plants that are sweet and edible in the raw state,...

s. Refrigerator magnets are a relatively popular object of collectors
The hobby of collecting includes seeking, locating, acquiring, organizing, cataloging, displaying, storing, and maintaining whatever items are of interest to the individual collector. Some collectors are generalists, accumulating merchandise, or stamps from all countries of the world...


They are mostly called Fridge Magnets in the UK, Australia and some of other English speaking countries.

Fridge magnets can be used to hold reminders, or be a reminder in themselves. Fridge magnets are often used as a collectors' item.

The first refrigerator magnet patent was obtained by William Zimmerman of St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis is an independent city on the eastern border of Missouri, United States. With a population of 319,294, it was the 58th-largest U.S. city at the 2010 U.S. Census. The Greater St...

, in the early 1970s. Zimmerman patented the idea of small, colored, cartoon magnets to be used for decorative display and convenience.


The flexible magnets used for refrigerator magnets are composed of a high-coercivity
In materials science, the coercivity, also called the coercive field or coercive force, of a ferromagnetic material is the intensity of the applied magnetic field required to reduce the magnetization of that material to zero after the magnetization of the sample has been driven to saturation...

 ferromagnetic compound (usually ferric oxide) mixed with a plastic binder. This is extruded as a sheet and passes on a conveyor belt over a line of powerful cylindrical permanent magnets. These magnets are arranged in an stack with alternating magnetic pole
Magnetic pole
Magnetic pole may refer to:* One of the two ends of a magnet* The magnetic poles of astronomical bodies, a special case of magnets, two special cases of which are the Geomagnetic poles:...

s facing up (N, S, N, S,...) on a freely rotating shaft. This impresses the plastic sheet with the magnetic poles in an alternating line format. Note that no electromagnetism is used. The pole-pole distance is on the order of 5mm, but varies with manufacturer. A refrigerator magnet will be demagnetised by passing it over a strong magnet..

Usually, fridge magnet is made by rubber magnet, paper and PP film, as promotional products and souvenir.

Magnetic polarization

Unlike most conventional magnets that have distinct north and south poles, flat refrigerator magnets made from composite materials are often constructed with alternating north and south poles on the same surface of the plane; this can be felt by taking two similar (or identical) refrigerator magnets and sliding them against each other with the "magnetic" sides facing each other: the magnets will alternately repel and attract as they are moved a few millimeters. This construction gives twice the magnetism on one side and is thus more effective at keeping the large planar magnet uniformly stuck onto the steel refrigerator than a uniformly-polarized magnet would be. It is also responsible for making the front of the magnet (the picture side) nearly non-magnetic. The technical term for this arrangement is Halbach array
Halbach array
A Halbach array is a special arrangement of permanent magnets that augments the magnetic field on one side of the array while cancelling the field to near zero on the other side...


Impact of refrigerator magnets

The impact of fridge magnets is widespread throughout the world. More than 80% of all households in developed nations have magnets on their fridge, for both utility and purely decorative purposes. A refrigerator magnet's lifespan is typically between 5–10 years. The number of times a refrigerator door is viewed in an average household per day is 40, meaning that each magnet makes approximately 14,600 impressions per year.

Special purpose refrigerator magnets

Sets containing magnets in the shape of the letters of the alphabet have been manufactured since at least the 1960s, and marketed as an educational production for young children. In the 1990s, sets of very small magnets printed with individual words became popular; these sets are used to create impromptu magnetic poetry. Relatively strong magnets with hooks are produced for the purpose of hanging oven mitts or keys. Magnets that serve as a picture frame
Picture frame
A picture frame is a decorative edging for a picture, such as a painting or photograph, intended to enhance it, make it easier to display, or protect it.-Construction:...

 are also fairly common. Magnets with notepads or dry erase boards are occasionally produced.

Collecting magnets as a hobby

Collecting magnets, such as city and county magnets from all around the world, became a popular hobby, as also collecting of many other memorabilia. Many people are bringing refrigerator magnets from cities, sights, places and countries they've been to, because such magnets are popular and inexpensive touristic souvenirs.

Though there is no official term (like numismatics
Numismatics is the study or collection of currency, including coins, tokens, paper money, and related objects. While numismatists are often characterized as students or collectors of coins, the discipline also includes the broader study of money and other payment media used to resolve debts and the...

) for collecting magnets, but with a growing interest to this subject there is some approach by collectors to find a proper term. For instance, a Russian collector proposes a term memomagnetics (Russian: мемомагнетика), derived from words memoriale (lat.) and magnetis (gr.) Then a collector of magnets would be called memomagnetist. These terms were accepted by the biggest Russian online community for magnet collectors.

World record

The largest collection of refrigerator magnets belongs to Louise J. Greenfarb also known as The Magnet Lady, from Henderson, Nevada
Henderson, Nevada
-Demographics:According to the 2000 census, there were 175,381 people, 66,331 households, and 47,095 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,200.8 people per square mile . There were 71,149 housing units at an average density of 892.8 per square mile...

 (suburb of Las Vegas
Las Vegas, Nevada
Las Vegas is the most populous city in the U.S. state of Nevada and is also the county seat of Clark County, Nevada. Las Vegas is an internationally renowned major resort city for gambling, shopping, and fine dining. The city bills itself as The Entertainment Capital of the World, and is famous...

, USA). Her world record was included to the Guinness World Records
Guinness World Records
Guinness World Records, known until 2000 as The Guinness Book of Records , is a reference book published annually, containing a collection of world records, both human achievements and the extremes of the natural world...

with 19,300 items as of 1997. According to the British "Book of alternative records", it grew to 29,000 as of February 2002, and later up to over 30,000 items. Over 7,000 magnets from Greenfarb's collection are exhibited at the Guinness Museum in Las Vegas.

In January 1999, Tony Lloyd, a teacher in Cardiff, Wales, was interviewed by the Channel 4 Television programme Collector's Lot when it was ascertained that he had largest collection of fridge magnets in Europe at that time, over 2000. As of September 2010, he had a collection of over 3,600.

External links

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