From Zamboni to Jabbar

My favorite new book is Eric Dregni's Zamboni: The Coolest Machines on Ice, a richly illustrated book from Voyageur Press. To this day, the Zamboni represents one of Southern California's most important contributions to sports culture. The story begins in 1940, when Frank Zamboni opened the Iceland ice-skating rink in Paramount. An electrician, mechanic and inveterate tinkerer, he saw the need for a machine to replace the laborious, time-consuming process of ice resurfacing. Dregni notes that Zamboni's first prototype – the Model A, unveiled in 1949 – used the "axles from a Dodge Army truck and other surplus parts. . . . chassis rails from an old oil rig . . . and a hydraulic cylinder from a Douglas bomber." The machine's popularity spread after Olympic gold-medalist Sonja Henie saw an early machine, commissioned one from Zamboni, and then used it on the road with her ice show. The original Model A, restored in 1998, is on display at Iceland, while the Zamboni company is still based in Paramount.

Also, Lakers Magazine reports that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has written yet another book: On the Shoulders of Giants: My Journey Through the Harlem Renaissance (Simon & Schuster) is due out Jan. 30. The magazine reports that Jabbar's documentary about the Harlem Rens, the all-black basketball team that won the world title in 1939, is in the works (with Spike Lee).

January 24, 2007 10:48 AM • Native Intelligence • Email the editor

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