Interesting Facts about Frederick McKinley Jones


Every item you eat was on a truck at some point. You can thank Frederick McKinley Jones for this, but it’s not how you think.

Why is Frederick McKinley Jones important?

Did you ever eat a hotdog? Most hotdog travel on a truck before it is delivered to a store. After it’s delivered to a store, you buy it and probably think nothing of it. Frederick McKinley Jones created an invention that made this possible. He created a way to keep a truck always refrigerated. This means food can travel great distances without spoiling.

This was a game changer in the 20th century. It’s all thanks to Frederick McKinley Jones. He received 61 patents, 40 for refrigeration technology. There are a lot of things that keep your food fresh that Frederick contributed.

Where was Frederick McKinley Jones born?

Jones was born in Covington, Kentucky in 1893. He moved with his father to  Cincinnati, Ohio, which is near Covington. Covington is south of Cincinnati just across the Ohio river. You can consider Convington a suburb of Cincinnati but in another state. It’s interesting how urban areas develop. Cities don’t normally care about the boundary lines we draw.

What was it like living in Cincinnati during his time there?

Uncovering Cincinnati’s hidden history of a Black community that influenced a nation via YouTube

There was a prominent black community established in Cincinnati named The West End. Jacob Schmidlapp a founder of Fifth Third Bank, believed that low-wage earners needed housing and other amenities at this time. Schmidlapp created the Cincinnati Model Homes Company (CMHC). The CMHC was an entire community. The community included an amphitheater, grocery store and housing that included bedrooms and indoor plumbing.

Cincinnati Model Homes Company - Philanthropic Housing via Harvard Library
Cincinnati Model Homes Company – Philanthropic Housing via Harvard Library

We’re not sure if Frederick McKinley Jones lived in The West End. However, there were efforts to improve the lives of black residents in Cincinnati with projects like the Cincinnati Model Homes Company undertook.

What hobbies did Frederick McKinley Jones have?

Frederick Jones loved to race cars. He did experience racism while racing. Many drivers didn’t want to race him because of the color of his skin. This is unfortunate, but it didn’t stop him from enjoying the sport.

How did Frederick McKinley Jones’ work get recognized?

Mr. Jones was a winner of the National Medal of Technology. He is also a member of the National Inventors Hall of Fame. Jones was inducted for his contributions to improving long distance transportation.

Where can I learn about more black inventors?

I recommend this book. There are a lot of great stories and insights that are gained by reading this one.

Black Poineers of Science and Invention by Louis Haber via Amazon
Black Pioneers of Science and Invention by Louis Haber via Amazon

You can also check out other posts on this site that detail black inventors.

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