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Where was the self-propelled ice-resurfacing machine (AKA the Zamboni) invented?

01/15/10

Show me the nugget

Paramount, California

What Frank J. Zamboni created the first self-propelled ice resurfacing machine in 1949. Within five years, he was selling them commercially. He wanted to call the company Paramount Engineering Co., but found the name was already taken.

Why Zamboni was in the ice business—making ice that was used in home iceboxes (precursors to refrigerators) and to keep produce cool as it was shipped by rail from Southern California. When refrigeration made ice blocks obsolete, Zamboni, along with his brother and cousin, looked for ways to keep making money. They built Iceland, a skating rink that still operates today. The Zamboni was developed to keep the surface of the ice fresh.

Bonus The name Zamboni is trade-marked, as is the machine’s familiar blocky shape, and the company prefers the name not be used as a verb or as a noun. There is, however, a band called The Zambonis—which has a licensing agreement with the company—and Sarah Palin has said she always wanted to name a son Zamboni. (No licensing agreement has yet been struck.)

Next month at the winter Olympics you’ll get to see zambonis in action. And we’re already looking forward to it. Marketplace Morning Report has this on figure skating’s popularity — and what it means for sponsors.

Discussion: 3 Comments

  • Posted by John Odom on February 15, 2010 6:49 PM

    Go th the Zamboni (TM) website to see how this registered trademark should or should not be used.

    I don’t think the Olympics machines were real Zamboni machines, were they?

    Respond to John Odom
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