The ice resurfacer is a truck-like vehicle created in 1949 by Frank J. Zamboni. Zamboni gave his name to his company that manufactured such vehicles; therefore, colloquially, the vehicle itself has become known as a Zamboni. That name is a registered trademark, though.

The resurfacer's main function is to renew the ice surface (hence the name resurfacer). The heart of an ice resurfacer is the conditioner, a large device dragged behind the vehicle. A large, very sharp blade, similar to those used in industrial paper cutters, shaves the surface off the ice, and an auger in front of the blade sweeps the shavings to the center of the conditioner, where a second auger (or, in early models, a paddle-and-chain conveyor) picks them up. Behind the blade, wash water is often sprayed on the ice by nozzles at either end of the conditioner; this wash water is confined inside the conditioner by the runners on either end and a rubber squeegee at the rear of the conditioner, and picked up by a vacuum nozzle to be filtered through a screen, and recirculated. This washing process removes any foreign material that might otherwise become embedded in the ice surface. At the rear of the conditioner, a sprinkler pipe wets a cloth towel that lays down clean water to fill the residual grooves and form a new ice surface. Hot water (140°F to 160°F, 60°C) is frequently used where available because it melts and smooths the rough top layer to create a flat, smooth ice surface. This water in many rinks is filtered and treated before being heated to remove any residual minerals and chemicals in the water. These chemicals and minerals would otherwise make the ice brittle or soft, give it pungent odours, or make it cloudy. The rest of the machine exists to support the conditioner.

Detailed early history of the zamboni

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