The Inventor: Frank J. Zamboni, Jr. (our story courtesy of zamboni.com)
Mr. Zamboni, born in Utah at the turn of the century, ended up in Southern California in the 1920s where he and his brother started a refrigeration business working with the dairy industry. As part of this business they made block ice...but just like the horse drawn carriage, the utility of block ice soon dwindled. Being a smart business man in the 1940s meant morphing that block of ice into sheets of ice and they opened an ice rink (yeah. in Southern California) Well, you can imagine what the quality of said ice was and how often it would need grooming. Zamboni needed a quick way to resurface the ice....and well, the rest, is history. He developed a machine that would "a machine that would shave the ice, remove the shavings, wash and squeegee the ice, and hold snow in an elevated tank large enough to last for an entire resurfacing job. "
We all know how cool the Zamboni is--that huge thing up front and the magic squeegie dragging behind. The driver hugging the boards but looking behind at the same time to make sure that no spots are missed....Wouldn't it be great to drive one!!!
The thingy dragging behind is called the "conditioner"(A) and the first thing that happens is that a knife scrapes the slushy ice away. Next, a spinning auger device (one horizontal screw with another vertical/perpendicular screw) lifts the scrapings up off of the ice, then up and away into the front of the Zamboni. Really the slush is 'pushed' up the vertical screw (C) by the continuous motion and production of slush from the horizontal screw. (B) All that slush stuff gets pushed up to the front of the Zamboni (D) awaiting it's final resting place outside the rink in a pile.
Next warm water from the fresh-water tank (E) is sprayed onto the ice thru the conditioner to clean it. This dirty water is then squeegeed, vacuumed up, and filtered and returned to the tank. Finally, hot water is then poured onto the ice and spread by a towel (G) to form a new clean surface.
From the dochertyfamily: (THAAANK YOOOOU!!)
The Zamboni magic happens because the machine gently overlaps the path it has already cleaned. The secret is the series of concentric ovals starting in the lower left corner of the rink....and ending in the lower right.
Now the trick that I really can't explain is how things work with TWO Zambonis on the ice. While the NHL has been using 2 for a while as it cuts the cleaning time, I was shocked to see the guys at Yost using 2 Zambonis for a midget's game the other night! But then I realized that it would take longer to clean with one Zamboni than it would for the kids to play a period and it all made sense (particularly given the cost of ice time!!!!)
If you want to buy one for your backyard, be ready to pony up anywhere between 10,000 and 250,ooo green ones. If you don't have that kinda cash, you can always make yer own....