CLEVELAND, Ohio. Mr. Coffee, an automatic drip home brewing machine that revolutionized the way Americans get their morning jolt of caffeine, died yesterday at the Cuyahoga County Home for Aging Appliances here. He was 46.
The cause of death was listed as obsolescence accelerated by calcium deposits. “He was one of the great ones,” said Mort Sherman, assistant manager of Home & Hearth of Shaker Heights, which stocked him since he first became available in 1972. “Without him, I don’t think you’d see home donut makers in my lifetime.”
His early celebrity led him into habits that predictably shortened his life. “When you’ve got Joe DiMaggio singing your praises from day one, it’s hard not to let that go to your head,” notes Sherman, “or in his case, the brew funnel assembly you pour the water into.” He soon ignored his own instruction manual, neglecting recommended monthly cleanings with white vinegar and water.
He appeared in a number of movies, including Spaceballs and Apollo 13, and made frequent appearances in the hit comedy series Seinfeld. He is mentioned in The Bloodhound Gang’s song “The Bad Touch,” and in the full version of the theme song to the Cheers television comedy, but he was most proud of the Raymond Carver short story to which he lent his name, “Mr. Coffee and Mr. Fixit.” “That meant the world to him,” says Norbert Graciago, who is writing his authorized biography. “No longer was he the punch line to a sitcom joke, now he’s a permanent part of the American literary canon.”
He is survived by his wife, Mrs. Tea Hot Tea Maker, and several offspring: Potato Perfect, the Mr. Coffee Juicer, the Food Dehydrator by Mr. Coffee, and the Breadmaker by Mr. Coffee. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Countertop Appliance Foundation of Greater Cleveland.