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To the sink, the scrubbie. To the stove, the oven mitt. And to the refrigerator: the refrigerator magnet.

Other kitchen appliances have their uses and practical accessories, but only the refrigerator doubles as a gallery of creative expression.

Thanks to these little magnets, the once-blank refrigerator door is transformed into an art collection of children's drawings and festooned with clipped-out cartoons, all the while collecting ever more magnets: memo holders, cute sayings, cats, tourist souvenirs, refrigerator poetry.

The TV series Mad Men showed a scatter of magnets on Betty Draper's refrigerator, circa 1960. Internet folklore holds that the refrigerator magnet was invented about 1970 by William Zimmerman of St. Louis, to ward off the depression he felt at the sight of such an otherwise blank monolith, his fridge.

Wherever the idea came from, it stuck. And some of today's new refrigerators take the same concept to new heights of whiz-bang.

Refrigerator options include digital photo displays. The Samsung Family Hub refrigerator ($3,500), for example, has a Wi-Fi-enabled touchscreen that keeps appointment time, recipes and shopping lists.

But even if technology finally does away with the magnet-cluttered refrigerator door, the clutter inside the box is another question.

-- Ron Wolfe

HomeStyle on 02/11/2017

Print Headline: Now showing: Exhibition of very attractive magnets

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