When I was a kid, I remember sitting impatiently at the edge of the ice skating rink waiting for the large ice-smoothing Zamboni to finish clearing the crushed ice to reveal a glassy surface ready for my skates. Zamboni turns out to be the last name of the ice resurfacing machine’s inventor, who would have been 112 today. In celebration of Frank Zamboni’s birthday, Google (News - Alert) has created one of its coolest interactive Doodle’s yet.
Image via Slashgear
The Zamboni was originally created for the Los Angeles-based mechanic’s family's skating rink. But, it quickly became a hit at hockey games, cutting the labor-intensive job of ice resurfacing from hours of shoveling to a matter of minutes.
Zamboni was born in 1901 in Utah, but relocated to California in 1920 where his older brother George had an auto repair business. The family eventually shifted into refrigeration, and built a skating rink in Paramount, Calif. in 1939. At the time, the ice was resurfaced by pulling a scraper behind a tractor, while workers collected ice shavings and wiped away water – a process that took over an hour, so Frank Zamboni started experimenting with other options in 1942.
A prototype for the Zamboni we know today, was not developed until 1947, while it took another two years before Frank could adequately clear ice from a rink. Finally, he applied for a patent, which was awarded in 1953.
Google’s latest Doodle honor’s Zamboni by tasking its players with resurfacing rink after it has been scuffed up by the skating children. In the Doodle, children skate in waves, leaving behind patches of ice to clean up. As you play, more children join the group of skaters. Also during the game, kids drop gas cans you can use to refresh your Zamboni’s fuel supply. This Doodle is simply controlled only by the arrow keys on your keyboard.
Even though he passed away in 1988, Zamboni’s company lives on. His invention reduced the time it takes to resurface ice down to a fraction of what it used to be. In April 2012, Frank J. Zamboni & Co., Inc. delivered its 10,000th production machine to the National Hockey League's Montreal Canadiens.
Today, we remember Zamboni as his machines carry on his name on ice rinks across the country – a greater legacy than most achieve.
Check out Google’s homepage to see the Doodle made in Zamboni’s memory.
Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO Miami 2013, Jan 29- Feb. 1 in Miami, Florida. Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO (News - Alert). Follow us on Twitter.
Edited by Brooke Neuman