Monday, September 8, 2008

Frank J. Zamboni

Frank J. Zamboni (1901-1988) was a successful business man, used to adapting business plans to fit changing times. In 1949, he did just that with his invention of the Ice Rink Resurfacing Machine, now commonly known as the Zamboni.

Zamboni, his brother, and his cousin owned an ice rink in Paramount, California. The men constructed a dome over the top of the rink to help protect it from the sun, but the ice still became chipped from regular use.

In order to make the ice smooth again, three to five workers were needed to scrape the top layer of the ice, sweep away the shavings, wash down the surface, mop the ice, and then spray a final coat of water on the ice. This process often took an hour and a half to complete. In 1942, Zamboni began work altering a tractor so that the tractor would scrape and smooth the ice faster and more efficiently. Seven years later, Zamboni patented his Ice Resurfacer.

This new invention allowed for the ice to be smoothed in 15 minutes. Zamboni continued to alter his machine and helped ice skating rise in popularity as it become easier and cheaper to keep the ice in pristine condition. His invention can be seen in hundreds of ice rinks today, and his original ice rink and factory remain vibrant businesses today.

MIT's Inventor of the Week-Zamboni
National Inventors Hall of Fame- Profile Zamboni The Zamboni Story

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