Refrigerator
Refrigerator

Refrigerator magnet

A refrigerator magnet or fridge magnet is an ornament, often whimsical, attached to a small magnet, which is used to post items such as shopping lists, child art or reminders on a refrigerator door, or which simply serves as decoration. Refrigerator magnets come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, and may have promotional messages placed on them. Refrigerator magnets are popular souvenir and collectible objects.
Unlike most conventional magnets that have distinct north and south poles, flat refrigerator magnets are magnetized during manufacture with alternating north and south poles on the refrigerator side. 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. One can note that magnetic field outside a uniformly magnetized thin sheet is actually zero, neglecting the edge effects (see, for instance, D. Budker and A. Sushkov, Physics in Your Feet", OUP, 2015), so a uniformly magnetized magnet does not stick to a refrigerator. Most magnets have a special, slightly more sophisticated magnetization pattern called a Halbach array. This construction gives enhanced magnetic field on one side and almost zero magnetic field on the other.
Collecting magnets is a hobby, with some collectors specializing in magnets from their travels, or of a particular theme. They are sold at souvenir shops worldwide. There is no generally recognized term (e.g. numismatics for currency collecting) for magnet collecting. A Russian collector has proposed the term memomagnetics (Russian: мемомагнетика), derived from the words memoriale (Latin) and magnetis (Greek) A collector of magnets would be called memomagnetist. These terms have been used by at least one Russian online community for magnet collectors.
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 January 2016 he had a collection of over 4500. He was again interviewed by the BBC and ITV during 2017. In February 2018, whilst on holiday in Sri Lanka, his 104th country, Tony's collection surpassed 5,000 magnets.