Beer Magnets: Just What Your Fridge Needed!
From the “What Will They Think of Next?” file comes an invention called bottleLoft, a simple refrigerator upgrade that enables beer drinkers to do something they could never do before – suspend their beers from the ceilings of their fridges!
Creator Brian Conti of Charlotte, N.C., funded his invention with a KickStarter campaign that yielded $60,597 – more than three times the amount he sought for startup money.
Working via Strong Like Bull Magnets – a super-strong magnet product and another of his inventions that was funded by KickStarter – Conti merely wanted to solve a confounding issue.
“One day I opened a beer and the cap went under my kitchen island,” Conti said. “I was having a hard time retrieving it, so I grabbed a magnet to retrieve it, and the light bulb went off.”
The fact that whenever he bought a few six packs, his fridge space was nil further inspired him – why take up shelf space, when you can just hang ’em? And, sure, any bottled drink with a metal cap will work with bottleLoft, but with the boom of craft beer, the bottleLoft is a natural for the beer nerd in your life.
And think of the benefits: That shelf space now consumed by a plethora of hoarded craft beers can now be used for things like, say, leftover pizza.
Conti experimented, created prototypes and then created more prototypes. Once he had the design he wanted, KickStarter did the rest. The size and power of the magnets had to be tested, and mounting obviously posed an issue. Each bottleLoft is affixed to the fridge ceiling with a special 3M adhesive strip made for lower temperatures. Each strip is rated to hold 110 pounds per each square inch.
“Design is an iterative process,” Conti said. “There were definitely iterations of magnet size and spacing, and various iterations of the general geometry of how the magnets are held and secured. Also testing of various adhesive grades and amount took place. So, about five rounds of prototyping to get to the final configuration.”
Interestingly, the magnets are powerful to the point that, if simply affixed to a large piece of metal, they could hold as much as 50 pounds. But the bottle cap is so small and such a small part of the bottle itself, that a very precise magnet was needed.
“A typical 12-ounce bottled beverage weighs 1.2 pounds,” Conti writes on his website. “However, the magnet needs to have a much stronger pull ability as the bottle cap is the only metal the magnet can ‘grab’ onto … and a bottle cap is a pretty thin piece of steel. The magnet in bottleLoft is designed to attract a standard bottle cap and hold up to an additional 3.6 pounds.”
If you ever get to the point you no longer want bottleLoft in your fridge – or if you, for some insane reason, stop drinking beer – the adhesive can be scraped off with a putty knife.
Conti said once he fulfills the Kickstarter orders, he will begin offering bottleLoft to the public. Look for it on the Strong Like Bull website in January.