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Jones (1892)

Frederick M. Jones (1892)

image of Frederick Jones in front of refrigerated truck

Source: Minnesota Historical Society (copyrighted)

Frederick M. Jones was born in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1892. After returning from France after serving in World War I, Mr. Jones worked as a garage mechanic. His mastery of electronic devices was largely self-taught, through work experience and the inventing process. With his experience as a mechanic he developed a self-starting gasoline motor. In the late 1920's Frederick Jones designed a series of devices for the developing movie industry, which adapted silent movie projectors to use talking movie stock. He also developed an apparatus for the movie box-office that delivers tickets and returns change to customers.

Frederick Jones received over 60 patents in his career. Forty of these patents were in the field of refrigeration. In 1935 he invented the first automatic refrigeration system for long-haul trucks. The system was, in turn, adapted to a variety of other common carriers, including ships and railway cars. The invention eliminated the problem of food spoilage during long shipping times. The ability to provide fresh produce across the United States during the middle of summer or winter changed the American consumer's eating habits. Jones' inspiration for the refrigeration unit was a conversation with a truck driver who had lost a shipment of chickens because the trip took too long and the truck's storage compartment overheated. Frederick Jones also developed an air-conditioning unit for military field hospitals and a refrigerator for military field kitchens. Frederick Jones received over 60 patents in his career.