Frank J. Zamboni built his first ice re-surfacing machine in California in the late 1940's. The machine was designed to scrape a thin layer of snow off the top of an ice rink, and cover it with a thin coating of water. As demand grew, the machines were built in the early 1950's on top of complete Jeeps, then from 1956-64 on a stripped Jeep chassis, increasing water- and snow-carrying capacity.
This photo shows Zamboni® #12 (Model D, 1953), built for Holiday On Ice. Note the use of tires with minimum tread, and the stock driver's seat and steering wheel moved to the upper rear driving position. Photo © Zamboni, 1999. Zamboni® is a registered trademark of Frank J. Zamboni & Co., Inc.
This rear view photo of a similar model shows other details of the mechanism, including the extended steering linkage. The raised hood of the CJ-3B meant that the bottom of the tank had to be stepped, whereas the earlier Model C (50K JPEG) built on a CJ-3A had a flat bottom.
Photo © Zamboni, 1999. Zamboni® is a registered trademark of Frank J. Zamboni & Co., Inc.
Lelo Grasso, who drove Boston Garden Arena's Model E machine for many years, was famous for waving his hat to the crowd as he departed the ice. Zamboni later restored this machine, and it was donated to the National Hockey League Hall of Fame in Toronto. Photo © Zamboni, 1999. Zamboni® is a registered trademark of Frank J. Zamboni & Co., Inc.
A 1954 Model E machine in front of the Iceland skating rink in Paramount, California, where new models have always been tested. The first standardized Zamboni® model, and the last to be built on a complete Jeep, the Model E was produced through 1955, and about 20 were manufactured, including some on the Jeep CJ-5. Subsequent models were built on a stripped Jeep chassis, and since 1964 on a custom chassis. Photo © Zamboni, 1999. Zamboni® is a registered trademark of Frank J. Zamboni & Co., Inc.
By the way, Zamboni® has another thing in common with Jeep® -- they are both registered names for an original, unique vehicle. Their manufacturers are justly proud of the names, and want to make sure that people don't forget that they are the originals and start using those names as generic terms for other similar vehicles.
Thanks to the staff at Frank J. Zamboni & Co., Inc. for their assistance. For more on the company, and more photos of earlier and later models, see the Zamboni.com website. -- Derek Redmond
Return to the Index of Unusual Photos on The CJ3B Page.
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