This Day in History: 1893-05-17

Frederick McKinley Jones an American inventor, entrepreneur, winner of the National Medal of Technology, and an inductee of the National Inventors Hall of Fame is born to a white father and Black mother. Deserted and orphaned as a child, Jones got a job first as a cleaning boy at age 11 and by age 14 he was working as an automobile mechanic. He boosted his natural mechanical ability and inventive mind with independent reading and study. After service with the U.S. Army in World War I, Jones taught himself electronics. His innovations in refrigeration brought great improvement to the long-haul transportation of perishable goods. He co-founded Thermo King. During his life, Jones was awarded 61 patents. Forty were for refrigeration equipment, while others went for portable X-ray machines, sound equipment, and gasoline engines. Learn more.