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Frederick Jones (1893-1961)
By Mary Bellis

Fred McKinley JonesFrederick McKinley Jones was one of the most prolific Black inventors ever. Frederick Jones patented more than sixty inventions, however, he is best known for inventing an automatic refrigeration system for long-haul trucks in 1935 (a roof-mounted cooling device). Jones was the first person to invent a practical, mechanical refrigeration system for trucks and railroad cars, which eliminated the risk of food spoilage during long-distance shipping trips. The system was, in turn, adapted to a variety of other common carriers, including ships. Frederick Jones was issued the patent on July 12, 1940 (#2,303,857).

Frederick Jones also invented a self-starting gas engine and a series of devices for movie projectors: adapting silent movie projectors for talking films, and developing box office equipment that delivered tickets and gave change.

Frederick Jones was born in in Covington, Kentucky near Cincinnati, Ohio on on May 17, 1893. He was a trained mechanic, a skill he learned doing military service in France during World War. His mastery of electronic devices was largely self-taught, through work experience and the inventing process.

Frederick McKinley Jones was granted more than 40 patents in the field of refrigeration. Frederick 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 during his lifetime.

List of patents for Frederick M. Jones

Frederick Jones
Frederick McKinley Jones applied the mechanical experience he gained at work and at war to improve two industries: cinema and refrigeration..
Thermo King - Frederick Jones' Company

Frederick M. Jones - Biography
Biographical information.

Frederick McKinley Jones
Frederick McKinley Jones was the inventor of the first practical refrigeration system for long haul trucks. His system was later adapted to a variety of other carriers including ships and railway cars.

Frederick McKinley Jones
Frederick Jones exhibited an early passion for the mechanics of the automobile.

Related Information
Black Inventors

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