The Google doodle Wednesday honors Frank Zamboni, the Italian-American inventor of the Zamboni ice resurfacing machine.
The Google homepage Wednesday is dominated by an interactive doodle featuring a pair of hockey players, a bundled-up skater, and a bespectacled Zamboni driver. Click on the doodle, and a game launches; to win points, you must clean up the scratches and nicks left by the skaters before your fuel gauge hits empty. The doodle, of course, is an homage to Frank Zamboni, the mechanic and inventor of the four-wheeled ice resurfacer that bears his name.
Zamboni was born 112 years ago, on Jan. 16, 1901, the third child of Francesco Giuseppe and Carmelina Masoero, both of whom had immigrated from Italy. Frank grew up on the family farm, in Eureka, Utah, and worked from a young age as a mechanic – according to one biography, he was pulled out of ninth grade to assist his father in the fields. In 1920, Frank's brother, George, opened a garage in Southern California, and Frank followed him there.
Later, after a stint at Coyne Trade School in Chicago, Frank and a third brother, Lawrence, went into business under the aegis of Service Electric, later known as the Zamboni Bros. Company. Lawrence and Frank did mostly electrical and drilling work, but they also found time to construct an ice-making plant, and sell big blocks of ice to nearby produce packing plants.
In 1940, Frank Zamboni, now a family man – he'd married Norda Ileta Chamberlain in 1923, and together he and Norda had three children – helped open an indoor rink called Iceland, in Paramount, Calif. At the time, indoor ice skating was growing in popularity, and Iceland was a success, but there was a major problem: it was hard to keep the ice clean and fresh.