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Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

If you enjoy fresh food, thank Frederick McKinley Jones (and a $6 bet)

Trucks are in the news these days. There are the oft-discussed supply chain issues, compounded by a national shortfall of about 80,000 truck drivers the industry would like to hire. Then there's the "Freedom Convoy" of Canadian truckers who have been protesting pandemic restrictions for the past month or so.
https://www.hagerty.com/media/automotive-history/if-you-enjoy-fresh-food-thank-frederick-mckinley-jo...
47 REPLIES 47
Swamibob
Technician

Now that's a "cool" story! 🙂
Need more of this type of history lessons. Thank you!
Flashman
Technician

An excellent story and a very impressive guy. Is "African American" the current politically correct term? I thought it was "Black".
SJ
Technician

All African American's are considered Black but not all Black's are African American.
Inline8OD
Technician

Is "white" the current politically correct term?
Sledogpilot
Detailer

What an impressive life. Reminds me of another hero of mine from that era, RG Le Tourneau. Too bad kids don’t know Fred but make heroes of rappers and thugs who resist arrest.
Zephyr
Instructor

I too always that that LeTourneau was a great man, until I talked to someone who had worked for him. He may have been a great philanthropist, but he was very tight-fisted with his employees.
Pegleg01
Detailer

Cheap with his help in both regards.
bassicdave
Pit Crew

...and certain past politicians.
bblhed
Instructor

They say that almost half the people alive on this planet today owe their lives to Refrigeration, Chlorinated drinking water, and Synthetic Ammonia. All amazing inventions that we take for granted.

For those wondering, Synthetic Ammonia is the base material for fertilizer, it was invented by the same person that invented Mustard Gas and was thought to be so important that he got a Nobel Prize for it because Synthetic Ammonia saved and created a lot more lives than Mustard Gas took.
AG1962
Instructor

Fritz Haber was the chemist who invented those marvels. He was born a Jew in what was then Germany, in 1868.
topside
Advanced Driver

Great article ! While most media are calling attention to Black History Month by lauding rappers and such, this man's contribution to the World stands far above, and there are more stories like his. Thank you.
KAM
Pit Crew

As a retired automotive engineer, really enjoyed this article. Keep these sorts of things coming. Not sure how sharing of work between organizations goes but many, many members of ATHS would be interested in reading this trucking history.
TomSowers
New Driver

As a 27 year employee of Thermo King, it goes without saying that there is a tremendous amount of pride that we have for this amazing man and what he gave the world through his innovative spirit, a spirit that all of us continue to this day. Thanks, Hagerty, for publishing a glimpse of his life and contributions outside of the normal Transportation Industry publications.
Sledogpilot
Detailer

Cool to hear that! Pun intended 😉
JimDandy83
Intermediate Driver

"...autodidact and polymath...". Wow!. I'm 78, built a '27 T tudor coach with a 312 V8 in the '60s, raced stock cars in the '70s, graduated law school with a JD in 1980, drive a '98 BMW Z3, consider myself well-read, and yet, I had never seen nor heard those words until now. That's somewhat disturbing but, on the other hand, I now have new words to describe myself when I'm bragging a bit.
Pegleg01
Detailer

Same Boat, Dandy...A great story about a TRUE accomplishment. Congress may well take note of Mr. McKinleys work AND social ethic.
kirkbrit
Pit Crew

I'll bet Mr Jones got some help from Powell Crosley at WLW radio in Cincinnati, and those compressors were driven by the same motor as found in the Crosley Automobile.
espo70
Advanced Driver

Wow. We owe so much to one man!
uweschmidt
Instructor

What a Great Man and a Wonderful Description brought Tears to my Eyes
DAdams
Intermediate Driver

Except Bombardier did not "create" the snowmobile. Ray Muscott in Michigan patented a halftrack snow vehicle in 1915. In 1917 Virgil White; in Ossipee, New Hampshire; patented a system to convert the Ford Model T into a halftrack snow vehicle. White would coin the term "snowmobile" for his converted Model Ts. Bombardier's contribution was to design cog driven fiber reinforced rubber belt that is central all snowmobile designs today.
1d1a2d2a
Intermediate Driver

I believe that when we stop referring to a man or woman as anything other than that, a man, a woman, then we will be politically correct. Anything other than that is racist.
Tinkerah
Engineer

I try to act as if I'm colorblind ("raceblind") and believe the world would be a far more peaceful place if everyone could do it, or at least try.
Inline8OD
Technician

Amen squared and cubed. No more than being left-handed, tall, short, medium-height, brown- or blue-eyed.
Pegleg01
Detailer

A GREAT story. And one I had no idea about at all, though I have seen "Thermo King" on trailers for so many years on the nations highways. A perfect story for Black History Month.
mvillmer
Intermediate Driver

Wow, who knew? Something we take so much for granted. He was brilliant!
PRScott
Instructor

Who knew? We can still learn. Thanks
bruold1
Intermediate Driver

Sounds like the man could do it all, he needs multiple life times to achieve his best.
OldFordMan
Advanced Driver

This remarkable man should be awarded the medal of freedom! For all he did for the US in times of peace and war he added to the strength of America.
I will not forget him.
Camarojoe
Intermediate Driver

Great unknown story. I grew up in Cincinnati and his name was never mentioned. Although, Getting tired of him being Black as the first item. I don't look at color, he was a brilliant man is the same line as Edison. Fortitude, guts, and focus makes for a genius, and a winner. I bet he wasn't a whinner!
MATTMERICA
Technician

I read this article on February 28th, the final day of Black History Month. What a fitting story to end on!
FloridaMarty
Instructor

Thanks for the story. I really enjoyed it.
Gary_Bechtold
Specialist

Brilliant man. We have lots to be thankful for people who had the vision to design and the know how to make it happen.

Cool story, indeed!
Geoffpaulsen
New Driver

Informative article about a great man. One thing many classic car fans don’t know is that for years, the Thermo King units were powered by Mercedes 180d engines - yes, the same one that was in my car - and I had Thermo King rebuild it for me.

Imagine having a car powered by a refrigerator motor. That’s why I eventually sold the car - it was S-L-O-W!
SAG
Technician

Nice
hyperv6
Racer

Another unsung hero of the 20th century.

Too bad we can’t celebrate all these people with out trying tie it to another agenda.
Inline8OD
Technician

What "agenda" is that?
-Nate
Detailer

Just one more American doing what he loved, nice that it helped the entire world too .

-Nate
Rider79
Technician

What an inventor!
Oldroad1
Technician

If Fred Jones were white his race would not have been mentioned. But as a black man his race is the first thing mentioned not his brilliant mechanical mind. We as Americans are often preoccupied by the race factor as one's accomplishments are shadowed by it because we see race itself as an accomplishment first. Why not memorialize Fred Jones as a great American a very important asset to the trucking delivery system. Without Fred Jones food delivery would not be possible.
SJ
Technician

Genius!!
Verneoz
Intermediate Driver

"There are the oft-discussed supply chain issues, compounded by a national shortfall of about 80,000 truck drivers the industry would like to hire." This may be true right now, but the industry is working on a permanent fix for this. As soon as all the bugs get worked out of the software & other system components, autonomous cargo trucks will replace all truck drivers except the small operators, As for the Thermo King reefers, we would never have these inventions if it were not for living in a free country that rewards forward thinking, innovation, and hard work. We hear these snowflakes today lecturing us on how bad the USA is...while conveniently overlooking all the good the USA has done for mankind not just for the USA.
jstarr111
Pit Crew

Why is race injected into these stories?!. Let's just call it was it is. Fred was a great inventor. Fred was a terrific human being, even if he was a man. In the story, it is mentioned that Fred had an Irish Father, and a Black mother. Does that make Fred a great Irish American, exclusively? Or , because Fred had a Black mother, exclusively a great Black American?.

How about Fred was just a Great American?!!! How about that?
elvacarsdallas
Intermediate Driver

Great thought
MustangJim
Technician

Wow, great story. Thank you for posting this.
66Batmobile66
New Driver

In the 1740s, the first form of artificial refrigeration was invented by William Cullen, a Scottish scientist. Cullen showed how the rapid heating of liquid to a gas can result in cooling. This is the principle behind refrigeration that still remains today. Frederick Jones was indeed a brilliant man and also deserves accolades.

By the way, a Scotsman invented asphalt roads or MacAdams as they were initially called. Macadam is a type of road construction, pioneered by Scottish engineer John Loudon McAdam around 1820, in which crushed stone is placed in shallow, convex layers and compacted thoroughly.

John Boyd Dunlop was a Scottish-born inventor and veterinary surgeon who was familiar with making rubber devices. He invented the first practical pneumatic tyres for his child's tricycle and developed them for use in cycle racing.

The transportation world was created and developed by many brilliantly creative people and they all deserve our praise including James Watt who was a Scottish inventor, mechanical engineer, and chemist who improved on Thomas Newcomen's 1712 Newcomen steam engine with his Watt steam engine in 1776, which was fundamental to the changes brought by the Industrial Revolution in both his native Great Britain and the rest of the world.

Cheer! BTW, I'm not Scottish
Oldroad1
Technician

Could have sworn you are at least a fifth.
brb
Instructor

Another person I'd like to have had over for lunch. Great story.