Frank J. Zamboni
Born September 16, 1901 – July 27, 1988
Ice Rink Resurfacing Machine
Patent #: 2,642,679
Frank Zamboni invented the ice-resurfacing machine that bears his name to
Working in California, Zamboni and his brothers were partners in an
enterprise that made and sold block ice. As the block ice industry declined
due to mobile refrigeration, the Zamboni brothers instead used their ice
making knowledge to create an indoor ice rink called Iceland in 1940.
The ice rink proved so successful, however, that keeping the ice smooth was
a labor-intensive job, requiring a crew of five people to work for an hour
and a half. The crew was required to scrape the top surface of the ice,
sweep away the shavings, wash down the surface, mop it clean, and spray a
final coat of water.
By 1949, Zamboni created a prototype of his ice-resurfacing machine that
could complete the work in fifteen minutes. Mass production of the machines
began in 1954, and they received international exposure when used at the
1960 Winter Olympics in Squaw Valley, California. Zamboni’s machines quickly
became indispensable at ice rinks everywhere.
Born in Eureka, Utah, Zamboni attended trade school in Chicago before
joining his brothers in California. Prior to their block ice business,
they were partners in a garage.