Thermo King innovator to join Minnesota Sci-Tech Hall of Fame

user-gravatar Headshot
Updated Nov 2, 2010

Thermo King announced that the company’s early innovator in refrigerated transportation, Fredrick McKinley Jones, has been selected as a 2010 member of the Minnesota Science and Technology Hall of Fame. Jones invented the first practical and automatic refrigeration unit for trucks and railcars in 1935, which improved food safety and quality by eliminating the problem of food spoilage over long hauls.

Jones will be honored posthumously for his contributions to science and technology at the Tekne Awards gala on Nov. 3 at 7 p.m. at the Minneapolis Convention Center. The MST Hall of Fame was created to honor true heroes in Minnesota’s history whose achievements in science and technology have made lasting contributions to the state and the world. Jones’ innovations and advancements in the refrigeration industry have been credited with the creation of an international commercial market for food. The ability to safely transport food across vast distances led to the development of the frozen foods industry and fast-food chains, and altered the eating habits of consumers throughout the world

In 1991, Jones was the first African American to be recognized by the U.S. government with the National Medal of Technology. During his career, Jones was granted more than 40 patents in the field of refrigeration, including an air-conditioning unit for military field hospitals and a refrigerator for military field kitchens. In addition, Jones patented other inventions including many for the emerging film industry. Jones received more than 60 patents during his lifetime.

On July 30, 2007, Thermo King opened the Fredrick McKinley Jones Research and Development Center at its headquarters facility in Bloomington, Minn. The center features more than 40,000 square feet and $8 million in equipment and capabilities for the design, testing and evaluation of products, systems and components for the transportation industry.