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Let the Beer Come to You

There’ve been some truly amazing inventions in my lifetime: the automated teller machine (ATM), the personal computer, the cell phone, the DVD player, the digital camera, and, perhaps the greatest invention of the 20th century, Viagra.

Some of these inventions have, of course, combined to form even more useful products. Many people take digital photos with their cell phones. Others watch DVD movies on their computers. And in some parts of the world, men of all ages are lining up to use the automated Viagra machine (AVM).

With each invention, humans seem to take a step forward. Just when you think our lives could not get any better, along comes an inventor like John W. Cornwell to surprise us. Cornwell, a 22-year-old Duke University graduate, has created a contraption that may eventually be considered the greatest invention of the 21st century: the beer-throwing fridge. It’s an invention that could dramatically improve the lives of college students everywhere, in much the same way that microwave dinners, double-sided underwear and foot deodorant have.

Like most great inventors, Cornwell encountered a problem and decided to solve it. As he writes on his website (, “Have you ever gotten up off the couch to get a beer for the umpteenth time and thought, ‘What if instead of ME going to get the BEER, the BEER came to ME???’”

That’s a question the typical college student asks about 20 times a day – and more often at night. But unlike the typical college student, Cornwell decided to do something about it, putting his engineering degree to good use. He took a mini-fridge and equipped it with a small elevator that lifts a can of beer through a hole and sets it on a catapult arm. A click of a remote sends the beer flying toward the couch, where a college student can catch it, either with his hands or, if he’s already had a few beers, with his face. (A good dental plan is recommended.)

Cornwell hopes to sell his invention for $1,500, which may seem like a lot of money, but not when you consider how much a beer-throwing fridge can do for your popularity in college. (One day you’re just a nerd, the next day you’re a beer-catching nerd.)

While it’s mostly intended for beer-drinkers, the beer-throwing fridge can be filled with just about any drink that’s sold in a can. And it may spawn a slew of household contraptions that throw items, including the pizza-throwing microwave, the cake-throwing oven and the husband-throwing bed (guaranteed to toss him onto the couch).

Come to think of it, a few other throwing contraptions could make our lives easier:

—The baby-throwing crib: If your baby starts crying in the middle of the night and you don’t feel like getting up, just press the remote and the baby will be thrown toward you. (Warning: Throwing babies can be dangerous. A good dental plan is recommended.)

—The junk-throwing mailbox: I’d pay big bucks for a mailbox that automatically throws all the junk mail away. If it’s designed well, it would throw all the good mail into our house and the junk mail into our neighbors’ yard. Who knows, they might actually start talking to us.

—The remote-throwing couch: I don’t know about yours, but our couch is always swallowing the remote. If we could get it to throw the remote to us, life would be a lot easier. We wouldn’t have to remove the cushions and put our fingers in all the crevices and touch all the food the kids have stored for emergencies. “Look ma, it’s a turkey leg from three Christmases ago! Mmmm, still tasty.”

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