At approximately ¾ of a mile per resurfacing, if there are four resurfacings per game, the machines travel an average of three miles during each hockey game.
On average, a Zamboni machine “travels” close to 2,000 miles each year in the course of resurfacing.
In 2001, a Zamboni machine was driven from the East Coast of Canada (St. John’s, Newfoundland) across to the West Coast (Victoria, B.C.). At about nine miles per hour, the journey took approximately four months.
Model E34 was in service for over 40 years and it is estimated that it traveled in excess of 45,000 miles on the ice. This machine has been fully restored and is on display at Paramount Iceland.
Over 10,000 Zamboni machines have been delivered around the world.
When a Zamboni machine operator in the Midwest passed away, his funeral procession was led by a Zamboni machine.
Twenty Zamboni machines were on hand to resurface the various ice sheets during the 2002 Salt Lake Winter Games. Fifteen machines (all electric, Model 552 resurfacers) were used in 2006 at the Winter Olympic Games in Torino, Italy.
Prior to the invention of the Zamboni machine, the manual resurfacing of the ice sheet required three or four workers and took over one hour to complete.
Frank Zamboni’s first patent (1,655,034) was for an adjustable electrical resister, which was awarded January 3, 1928.
Why does the Zamboni machine have headlights? Machines may be required to travel over the road at night and many have to leave the arena to dump the snow collection tank.
Machine No. 4 is in the US Hockey Hall of Fame in Eveleth, MN and machine No. 21 (originally sold to the Boston Bruins in 1954) is presently at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, Canada.
Frank J. Zamboni was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Engineering from Clarkson University in Potsdam, NY in 1988.
The blade on the Zamboni machine is designed especially for ice-resurfacing. It is sharp enough to slice through thick stacks of newsprint, weighs 57 pounds and is ½ inch thick.
In the Fall of 1999, more than a million people visited the Zamboni web site, www.zamboni.com to vote for their favorite Zamboni driver of the year. The winner, Jimmy MacNeil, is from Wayne Gretzky’s hometown of Brantford, Ontario, Canada.
“Not very scientific” facts and figures:
Average number of resurfacings a day: 9.7
Time in operation per day (12 min per resurfacing): 116.40 minutes
Miles traveled per day (9.7 resurf. X .75 mile) 7.3
Snow per resurfacing 60 cu. ft.
“Snow cones” per resurfacing (28.3 cu. in./cone) 3661 cones
When the machine resurfaces the ice, it is capable of removing close to 2,500 pounds of compacted snow, while it can leave behind about 1,500 pounds of water.
The shape of the Zamboni ice resurfacing machine (like the shapes of the Jeep® grille and the Coca-Cola® bottle) is a federally registered trademark.
In 2000, the Zamboni machine was immortalized as an authentic Monopoly® board game token in the NHL version of the game.
Zamboni® has been designated the official ice resurfacing machine of the NHL (National Hockey League).
On January 1, 1995, Rotary International’s Tournament of Roses Parade float entry titled “Lending a Helping Hand” featured Snoopy at the wheel of a Zamboni machine, surrounded by the PEANUTS characters.
In January of 2004, a Zamboni machine operator for the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning buried a pewter Zamboni machine charm at center ice for good luck during the Stanley Cup Finals. The Lightning went on to win the 2004 Stanley Cup.
In February of 2005, Canadian McDonald’s restaurants introduced a miniature version of the Zamboni ice resurfacing machine for a Happy Meal™ toy promotion.
Paramount Iceland, birthplace of and home to the world’s first Zamboni ice resurfacing machine, (the Model A Zamboni ice resurfacer) celebrated its 70th anniversary on January 3, 2010.
In April of 2005, Road & Track magazine performed a “road test” on the Zamboni Model 500 ice resurfacing machine. They determined the machine’s top speed to be 9.7 mph and that the machine would go from 0 to ¼ mile in 93.5 seconds.
For the NHL’s 2002 All Star Game in Los Angeles, California, a parade featuring four restored vintage Zamboni machines, including the world’s first Zamboni machine, traveled through the streets of downtown Los Angeles.
The extra weight of the batteries used to power the Model 552 electric Zamboni ice resurfacing machine are supported by wider tires than those used on the fuel-powered models. A Model 545 uses size 215 tires and the Model 552 uses size 245 tires to handle the weight difference of over 3,000 pounds.
Since their premiere in 1997, millions of miniature 1:50 scale replicas of the Zamboni ice resurfacing machine have been manufactured and sold around the world.
A commercial during the 2000 NFL Superbowl featured Wayne Gretzky at the wheel of a Zamboni machine.
The Model A, Frank’s first working prototype of the Zamboni® ice resurfacing machine was the largest machine he ever built, measuring 14 ft, 9 inches in length and 9 ft, 6 inches in height.
In 2000, Frank J. Zamboni was inducted into the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame. In 2006, Frank was inducted into the World Figure Skating Museum and Hall of Fame. In 2007, Frank was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. In 2009, he was inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame.
In the early days of the Zamboni ice resurfacer, the inability of tires to get adequate traction on the ice was an issue. Before the introduction of tires implanted with steel studs in the mid 1960’s, Frank Zamboni would have new tire casings re-treaded with a combination of rubber and crushed walnut shells. These re-treaded tires provided the best possible traction (without the use of chains, which would take their toll on the ice sheet) at the time, but not nearly as good as today’s studded tires.
In 1957, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) contacted the Zamboni Company to ask about the turning radius of the Zamboni ice resurfacer. As a result, they amended their “rule book” to allow for the ice resurfacing machine’s specifications.
The Zamboni machine does not measure its travel in “miles”. Instead, the hours in use are monitored as a point of reference.
In 1962, a special Zamboni Model G ice resurfacer was manufactured for an ice rink in Seibu, Japan. This machine featured side by side operator’s seats, a “first” (and last) for the Zamboni Company.
Other “Zamboni” Machines: Frank Zamboni actually developed the “Grasshopper” (a machine to roll up artificial turf); the “Black Widow” (which was used to fill in dirt on top of cemetery vaults); the “Astro Zamboni” (designed for Monsanto Chemical Company to vacuum water from their Astro-turf® product); and the “Vault Carrier” (built to lift and carry heavy cement burial vaults). Under Frank’s direction, the Company also built and/or sold machines designed to groom snow, dig trenches and clean aircraft. However, through the years, the Zamboni Company’s primary focus has been on the ice business and the continued evolution of the Zamboni ice resurfacing machine.
Northern Arizona University may have the distinction of purchasing more varied machines from the Zamboni Company than any other facility. NAU built an enormous facility that included an Astro-Turf field and an ice rink in the middle which could be frozen when the artificial turf was removed. In 1977 they took delivery of a Zamboni Model HDB ice resurfacer, a Zamboni Grasshopper turf roller and a Zamboni stripe removal machine. At one point, they even inquired about an AstroZamboni machine to clean the turf.
When Minnesota regained its NHL hockey team, they had a Zamboni machine parade. There were more than a dozen Zamboni machines involved in the parade, which garnered national media attention.
The Zamboni Company sells more ice resurfacing machines than all of its competitors (around the world) combined.
Each tire on the Zamboni machine is hand-studded, with around 400 Tungsten Carbide studs used for each machine’s full set of tires.
The Zamboni machine has been involved in the plot lines of and even a “star” in TV shows and movies, including: