Frederick McKinley Jones
1893 - 1961
Fred Jones was a mechanical and electrical engineer. He used these inherent engineering abilities to invent and patent a portable air-cooling unit for trucks. This technology made the transport of perishable foods, possible.
Jones started from the bottom and worked his way up, before making his breakthrough refrigeration discovery. Jones found began working at an auto garage as a custodian and mechanics assistant in his hometown Cincinnati, Ohio. Jones unmatched skill and loyalty to the shop earned him a promotion to serve as the foreman for the garage after three years.
Jones loved working on cars. He built and raced cars recreationally, and was able to enter competitions on the national expo schedule. Jones' passion for racing on the national expo circuit cost him his job because he failed to separate racing from work. This termination would prove to be a blessing in disguise.
Jones volunteered his mechanical genius to the armed services and enlisted to serve as a mechanic during WWI. Initially, Jones was assigned to work exclusively with Black soldiers. However, his skills superseded segregation and his skills made him a vital U.S. Army resource. Jones was even requested by name in many instances. It was during this service with the Army that Jones made his history altering discovery. To assist with the transport of perishable food, Jones invented an air-cooling unit for trucks. Jones discharged after the war with the rank of sergeant, a unique distinction for a Black man in that era .