Fun Facts about the Zamboni
Resurfacing an ice rink today would require three to four workers and take over an hour to complete if it wasn’t for a man named Frank Zamboni. Frank Zamboni, the son of Italian immigrants, invented the first ice resurfacing machine in Paramount, California, in 1949. Frank Zamboni initially wanted to name his company the Paramount Engineering Company, but the name was taken, so he used his family name instead, and the birth of the “Zamboni” took place.
The Model A, Frank’s first working prototype of the Zamboni ice resurfacing machine was the largest machine he ever built, measuring 14 ft, 9 inches in length and 9 ft 6 inches in height. Finally, Frank found a successful model and shape. The shape of the Zamboni resembles the shape of the Jeep grille and the Coca-Cola bottle, and it is a federally registered trademark. There is no doubt Frank found unmatched success and took over the market with his Zamboni ice resurfacing machine. To this day, the Zamboni Company sells more ice resurfacing machines than all of its competitors from around the world combined. Over 10,000 Zamboni machines have been delivered around the world. The Zamboni has been designated the official ice resurfacing machine of the NHL, and for those board game lovers, in 2000, the Zamboni machine was immortalized as an authentic Monopoly board game token in the NHL version of the game.
Let’s explore what makes the Zamboni so effective. When driving over the designated sheet of ice, the Zamboni first shaves the ice. The blade on the Zamboni machine is designed especially for ice-resurfacing, as it is sharp enough to slice through thick stacks of newsprint, weighing 57 pounds and is a half-inch thick. The Zamboni then collects the ice shavings using a horizontal screw (auger) that gathers the shavings, proceeding with a vertical screw that propels the shavings into the snow tank. Next water is fed from a wash-water tank to the “conditioner” which rinses the ice. The last step is resurfacing, where clean water from the ice making tank is delivered to the ice through a pipe and spread evenly with a towel pulled across the ice behind the conditioner.
At approximately ¾ of a mile per resurfacing, if there are four resurfacings per game, the machines travel an average of three miles during each hockey game. On average, a Zamboni machine travels close to 2,000 miles each year in the course of resurfacing. Additionally, when the machine resurfaces the ice, it is capable of removing close to 2,500 pounds of compacted snow, while it can leave behind about 1,500 pounds of water. Also, Road & Track magazine performed a “road test” on the Zamboni Model 500 ice resurfacing machine. They determined the machine’s top speed to be 9.7 mph and that the machine would go from 0 to ¼ mile in 93.5 seconds.
Frank Zamboni’s company is the world’s premier manufacturer ice resurfacing machine. The name is so common that most ice resurfacers today are just called “Zambonis”. The Hungry Jack’s 2017 Ice Hockey Classic is proud to be using the Zamboni 440 on this tour.