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Black Inventors and Innovators - Frederick Jones

Updated on February 16, 2011


Frederick Jones was born May 17, 1893 in Cincinnati, Ohio and died February 21, 1961 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Jones’ father was a white railroad worker and his mother was a black woman who died when Jones was very young.  Jones was orphaned at the age of eight when he was sent to a rectory by his father to be raised by a priest. Jones’ father thought that Frederick would be better off under the care of the priest.  Jones never finished the eighth grade but Jones’ lack of education did not stop him from following his dream and drive of being an inventor.  

Frederick Jones is mostly known for inventions in refrigeration although he had other inventions in the medical field; a portable x-ray machine and in the movie industry; an automatic ticket dispenser. Frederick enjoyed trying to create things that filled a specific need.  Frederick Jones is credited with over 60 patents 40 of which were in refrigeration.

Refrigeration was Frederick’s main focus.  Jones designed a portable vehicle air conditioning unit for trucks that was eventually used in other vehicles such as trains, boats and ships.  This air conditioning system enabled food to be transported to other cities and changed the way food was delivered.  Jones’ invention revolutionized the shipping, grocery, fast food and frozen food industries.  Because of the air conditioned vehicles food could be frozen and kept frozen from city to city.   Because of the air conditioned vehicles the frozen food industry was developed and supermarkets came into existence. With the air conditioned transportation grocery stores were able to import and export products other than canned goods, like fresh vegetables and meats.  

Not only was the food industry and consumer eating habits changed because of  Jones’ invention but the medical field also benefitted because these refrigeration units were able to transport blood and medicines to and from different locations. This was significant during World War II for the military field hospitals.

The vehicle air-conditioning device would later be called a Thermo King and the company Thermo King Corp is now a world leader in transportation of temperature controlled equipment globally.

I am thankful to Frederick Jones’ for his inventions and innovations.  Frederick Jones is a great role model for perseverance through adversity.  Jones only had an eighth grade education but did not let that stop him from going after something that he believed in and he ended up revolutionizing several industries in the process.  


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    • Triplet Mom profile image

      Triplet Mom 6 years ago from West Coast

      Thank you Hello Hello. I am enjoying learning about these truly inspiring people.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

      Thank you for another wonderfully written and detailed hub. It was great reading.

    • Triplet Mom profile image

      Triplet Mom 6 years ago from West Coast

      Thank you BK! I am so enjoying learning as I go. This was a great idea and I only have my kids to thank for this.

    • BkCreative profile image

      BkCreative 6 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Sixty patents! You are doing an excellent job of informing me. I can simply direct my students to your hub or print it out.

      Thanks a million for putting these educational and historic hubs together. Rated up!