UPDATE: We had a busy, long weekend, Normal updates resume on Tuesday morning. In the meantime, here’s a rerun from 2010.
Eureka, Utah is a very small town. I imagine it was even smaller when Frank Zamboni was born in 1901. From those humble beginnings, Frank grew up to create one of the most iconic service vehicles ever: The Zamboni® Ice Resurfacer. I’m not sure why they have entered the public’s imagination in the way they have, but if you say Zamboni®, people know what the vehicle does.
In fact, the Frank J. Zamboni company is legitimately concerned about the name Zamboni® passing from being a description of an Ice Surfacer into a noun, which can spell death for a Trademark. You’ll note on the website that Zamboni® is quickly followed by Ice Surfacer for that specific reason. In addition, there’s an extensive discussion of the Zamboni® trademark here.
By now, you are probably asking yourself what all this has to do with jeeps? For about 7 years, from 1942 through 1949, Frank Zamboni attempted a variety of experiments to create a good ice resurfacer, mostly using different Jeep models. Below is a summary of the Zamboni® history from the company’s website coupled with pics I’ve found all over the web. The CJ-3B Page also has some information.
- Model A was Frank’s prototype ice re-surfacer. In 1949, he built the model below (which has been restored and still exists at Paramount Iceland in California):
2. Model B introduced the jeep to ice surfacing. In 1950, apparently Frank decided he needed something more portable, so he came up with Model B, which used a War Surplus Jeep (I’m assuming MB?). If you look closely below, you can see Frank connected a U joint to the steering column and then added another steering rod so that you could steer from behind the jeep. According to the Frank J. Zamboni Corp:
In 1950, Olympic skating star Sonja Henie’s traveling ice show was practicing at Paramount Iceland, and she saw the Model A in action. She had to have one and asked Frank if he could build one in time for an upcoming Chicago performance. The deadline was tough, but Frank worked day and night, then loaded all of the resurfacer parts into a U-Haul® trailer. He towed the trailer to Chicago behind the Jeep he would install the parts on and assembled the Model B there.