Frank J. Zamboni – (in honorarium)
2006 World Hall of Fame
Frank Zamboni, the son of an Italian immigrant, was born January 16, 1901, in Eureka, Utah. Zamboni literally changed the surface of ice rinks around the world. He not only engineered and patented a unique ice floor in 1939 but in 1940, opened Iceland in Paramount, California – one of the largest ice rinks in the country with 20,000 square feet of skating surface.
In 1949, Zamboni was granted another patent for perhaps his most well known design -- the Model A -- the world’s first self-propelled ice resurfacing machine. In 1950, Zamboni established Frank J. Zamboni & Company, also in Paramount, California, which remains the worldwide headquarters.
Zamboni’s background in the ice industry originates from the ice-making plant he helped established in 1927 which sold block ice wholesale to fruit- and vegetable-packing plants.
He also changed the face of sports’ industries utilizing Astro Turf® -- the artificial grass manufactured by the Monsanto Chemical Company. Zamboni invented the Astro Zamboni® to solve the problem Monsanto was having with a lack of rain penetration through their product.
Overall, this engineering genius received 15 lifelong patents with less than a high school education. On May 15, 1988, Zamboni received an Honorary Doctorate of Engineering from Clarkson University in Potsdam, New York.
Zamboni was inducted into the Ice Skating Institute’s Hall of Fame in 1965 and the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame in February 2000. Zamboni died at the age of 87 on July 27, 1988. His son, Richard, accepted the honor on his behalf.