Google’s latest doodle marks the 112 birthday of Frank Zamboni, the inventor of the world’s first self-propelled ice-resurfacing machine, which the Italian-American trademarked in his own name and is now commonly known as a “Zamboni”.
The playable doodle, which involves manipulating an ice-cleaning machine after a number of animated skaters depart from a rink, is inspired by the Zamboni ice resurfacer itself.
Born in 1901 to Italian immigrants in Utah, the family later moved to Los Angeles, where Frank Zamboni ran an auto repair shop with his older brother and later opened an electrical supply business with a younger brother.
In 1927, the two younger brothers entered the block ice business after opening an ice-making plant, which they used to open an ice rink shortly before America’s entry into the second world war.
Zamboni found a way of preventing rippling on the rink’s surface as a result of the pipes put down to keep the rink frozen, an idea which he patented in 1946.
However, his real breakthrough came in 1949 when he produced a machine that turned the job of resurfacing the rink into a one man job that could be done in 10 minutes. Previously, it had taken three men, working for 90 minutes.