The History of the Zamboni
Although ice hockey was originated in the early 1800’s, the first Zamboni did not hit the ice until 1949. For well over a century, the sheet of ice was resurfaced by tediously shoveling off the snow and pouring water back over the ice. The technique left the ice in a miserable, almost unskatable state by today’s standards. Not only was it a poor surface to skate on, resurfacing a sheet of ice took nearly over an hour and a half to complete. Frank Zamboni’s invention of the Zamboni not only brought convenience to the rink, it revolutionized the speed of the game.
Frank J. Zamboni was born in Eureka, Utah, in 1901 and grew up on a farm in Idaho, where he helped with the family farm and worked as a mechanic in a local garage. In 1920, Frank moved to the City of Paramount, California with his brother, Lawrence. After saving his money to study electricity in Chicago, Frank and Lawrence decided to open an ice/refrigeration plant in 1927, giving it the trademark name, Zamboni Bros. Electric Co. As electric refrigerators became more common nearly a decade later, the demand for ice-box services diminished leaving the Zamboni brothers with an opportunity to put the ice machines to new use.
In 1939, Frank, Lawrence, and their cousin, Pete built one of the largest rinks in the country, Iceland, but Frank became so fed up with the lengthy ice-resurfacing procedure that he attempted to build and ice resurfacer of his own, pulled by a tractor in March of 1943. With a fail at his first attempt, Frank’s persistence urged him to try again after World War II, where he was left with a military surplus of cheap parts. Using the parts, Frank reconstructed his prototype but failed again when the self-propelled resurfacer with two-wheel drive was found to have no traction on the ice. After much trial and error though, Frank got his first ice-resurfacer, the Model A, working and applied for a patent, which he received four years later.
Now with his...
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