MICROFRIDGE In 1987 at age 33, Robert Bennett proposed to his wife Martha that he resign his job as a Boston computer salesman, sell their vacation home and other assets, and use the proceeds of $50,000 to found a business that he proposed to call Microfridge Inc. Bennett, who had a master’s degree in engineering, wanted to exploit an idea of his to combine a refrigerator, freezer and 500 watt microwave oven into a single unit for sale to college students. Bennett was aware that many colleges had rigid policies against cooking in student dormitories because of the risk of fire posed by hot plates. According to the National Fire Protection Association, circuit overloading caused 1,600 dorm fires annually. Bennett had devised electronic circuitry that shut off power to the refrigerator/freezer whenever the microwave was switched on. In this way the unit would never pull more than 10 amps of current. By comparison, a hot plate in tandem with a refrigerator drew about 35 amps. His proposal was for a compact appliance weighing 87 pounds
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college students, Bennett, Robert Bennett, rigid policies, hot plates