November 20, 2006

Lauren, Prototype

Those of you unfamiliar with my work should know that I only make prototypes: meaning that I’ll have an idea and bring it to 87% completion (just to see it work), then give up.

I found an interesting idea online about a candle heater. (It’s at if you’d like to check it out.) I went ahead and ordered one because I thought , “Here’s a guy who had an idea and actually carried it through! That kind of dedication has to be encouraged.” However, it’s going to take several days for mine to arrive, so I made an extremely dangerous prototype.

His candle heater has three flower pots and many more screws and washers, and a well-made stand – not a green bean can with sharp, dangerous gashes on the sides. I played with it all night, using the infrared thermometer to check how hot it was getting. I also gave myself a royal burn after touching the bolt. I knew it was hot, and was being very, very careful, then some demon possessed my mind and said, “Touch it. Touch it now.” Then I did. Stupid.

jagged edges and hot surfaces - my kind of fun!

blurry, or moving very fast?

Don’t adjust your screen, the picture’s just blurry.

About Lauren

Lauren Sommerer is a preschool teacher who likes to build prototypes, grow cats, cook things once, save money, reduce, reuse and recycle.

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10 Responses to “Prototype”

  1. Brad Said on:

    With a title like “Prototype”, I was expecting a story about how you built a murderous robot. But it was just a flowerpot candle heat retention device (or a FCHRD). The Amish scientists invented these years ago. Don’t you read “Amish Science Weekly”?


  2. Annette Said on:

    This from a woman who only needed a plant in her classroom science center….now she’s an all growed up scientist!


  3. Mark Said on:

    Great! But did it WORK?


    • Lauren Said on:

      Yeah, it gets about 150 -- 180 on the outside, so it’s kind of like having a hot cup of coffee on the tabletop. The man on the website says, “It’s a candle, so it’s not going to heat a whole mansion, but it will take the chill off a small, insulated room.” I’ll have to try it in a smaller room. Experimenting away! (By the way, you are the first of the Hofman clan to comment! Hooray and congratulations!!!)


  4. Mark Said on:

    So, DO I get a prize or something? Like a prototype Sommerer Heatstick of my own?


    • Lauren Said on:

      I’m sorry, but I only build prototypes once. I have already given up on this idea and am off to build a secondary litter box that will hold all my cat’s pee until we get back from Colorado. (I’m SURE you wouldn’t want that.) 🙂



  1. » Do NOT try this at home - November 30, 2006

    […] Now, on to the unsafe experiments!!!  As you may know, I’m becoming freakish about cheap heat.  The candle heater is pretty cool, but doesn’t get as hot as my unsafe model.  Thinking along the lines of a true cheapskate, I wondered if you could just put tea lights in a cinder block and skip all the costly bolts and nuts.  Having a plethora of cinder blocks in the basement, I give you: Model One […]

  2. » Ikea Hack 2 - September 2, 2008

    […] this summer nonsense with trying to keep cool is making me crazy.  Give me the cold! And also the candles and hot drinks that I will use to heat my spouse and my […]

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