What is a Zamboni machine?

The Zamboni machine is by far the most popular ice resurfacer which being used in order to smooth and to clean at the same time the ice surface of a rink. At this time there are two different companies that are building this machines: the Olympia and Zamboni.

zamboni machine

The very first ice resurfacer was created in 1949 by Frank Zamboni. He was a first part of the refrigeration market and he was always looking for new ways to capitalize his knowledge regarding ice.

How does a Zamboni machine works?

The process behind each Zamboni machine is very simple to understand. The machine uses a sharp blade that is shaving a layer from the ice. On top of the blades there will be some conveyors that rotate and remove the shavings. These are collected in a tank and after that the tank is emptied outside the ice rink. At the same time there is also a jet of water that cleans the ice. There is also another jet of warm water in order to fill in the holes in the ice and you will see behind the Zamboni machine a smooth sheet of ice.

Frank Zamboni was born in Utah, but when he was 21, he moved to California. He started by working with his brother at an auto repair garage, but he soon started his own family business. The first thing he ventured in was a factory that produced blocks of ice. The next family business built one of the largest ice rinks in United States. The rink had 20K square feet and this is the moment when Frank Zamboni got in touch with the rink management. He was frustrated by the fact that the manual resurfacing of ice was very difficult and inefficient at the same time. He started to do some experiments with the help of a jeep and some parts coming from a tractor and this was his way to create one of the first automated machine that could resurface an ice rink.

He had to prepare the ice to be perfect for skating and his need for the ice rink, drove him to invent a machine to do that. His mission was to build a machine that was capable of clearing the ice of all the imperfection caused by the skaters.

There are some interesting facts regarding the Zamboni ice resurfacing machines. First of all at a normal hockey game a Zamboni must travel 3 miles, in order to make sure that the ice is just right for the game and this means it needs to be resurfaced 4 times.

Before Zamboni invented his automated machine, everything was done by hand. Back then the whole process took one hour and there were 4 workers required.
A Zamboni can remove 2,500 pounds of ice when a resurface is done.
Every time you go to a hockey game, or even at your local ice rink during the winter, you will see these fascinating machines that revolutionize the ice skating world.

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