How the Zamboni Machine Works

If you’ve ever attended a hockey game or skated at an ice rink, you’ve probably noticed a Zamboni. These slow-moving mammoth machines turn a sheet of chewed-up ice into a slick skating surface between periods of each National Hockey League game.

How does it work? Its massive razor-sharp blade shaves the slushy top layer off the ice. As the Zamboni collects old ice, it sprays out a fresh sheet of clean water that quickly freezes.

Before the Zamboni, it took up to four workers an hour or more to get a clean sheet of ice. Then came Frank Zamboni. In 1949, he perfected the “Model A,” the earliest version of the machine you see today. Back then, the Zamboni was cobbled together from old vehicles like tractors, jeeps and airplanes, and there were only a handful in existence. Now the Zamboni can be found on every continent except Antarctica.


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