Micro-fridge can cook, store, freeze foods

By Dana Netzel

The Micro-fridge is looking to be the next invention to revolutionize the art of furnishing a college apartment or dormitory room.

Robert Bennett is the brainchild behind the four-foot tall refrigerator, freezer and microwave oven. The unit has three seperate doors, one cord and never exceeds nine amps. In December of 1986, Bennett came up with the idea of a Micro_fridge and holds two patents on the unit.

The standard size of a college refrigerator is 1.7 cubic feet, Bennett said. The Micro_fridge microwave uses 500 watts of electricity and is 0.6 cubic feet, the refrigerator is 2.9 cubic feet, and the freezer is 0.74 cubic feet.

The unit is priced between $389 and $429, depending on the quantity and shipping distances, Bennett said. A price decrease is not expected because, “it’s worth it and it’s a real freezer—just like the freezer you have at home,” Bennett said.

Typically, a compact refrigerator is 25 degrees Farenheit, but the Micro-fridge is a true zero degree Farhenheit refrigerator, he said. The unit is capable of storing food for an extended period of time.

Colleges are interested because the unit is safe, energy efficient and cannot blow a fuse like a separate compact refrigerator and microwave can, Bennett said.

educing liability exposure is another reason colleges are intrigued by the Micro_fridge. “It is one less hot plate,” that students will illegaly use, Bennett said.

Colleges interested in the Micro_fridge can purchase the unit at a discount and then rent it to students or install it in rooms. Bennett estimated dormitories could install the units into the rooms and charge residents $50 to $60.

The 1989-90 NIU Guide Post states, “absolutely no cooking may be done in student rooms or other unauthorized areas of the residence hall.”

“We don’t allow cooking devices because cooking food attracts bugs,” said Donald Buckner, Student Housing Services director. Cooking also poses a fire hazard, he said.

Micro_fridge has not been sold to any Illinois colleges, but there are waiting lists at Brown University in Rhode Island and the University of Southern California.

The first shipment of 1,700 Micro_fridges went out to colleges, offices and hotels at the end of August with expected 1989 revenues at $1.9 million.