ASME-Landmark:Thermo King© C Refrigeration Unit


The refrigeration units placed on trucks in 1938 by Thermo King Corp. revolutionized the transportation of perishable foods, prompting consumer demand for meat, poultry, produce and dairy products to increase at an astounding rate. These installations and subsequent ones on refrigerated vehicles, ships, and railroads have had worldwide impact on the preservation of food and other perishables during distribution. Today, more than three quarters of the food through the United States alone is shipped and stored under refrigeration, with a frozen food industry having annual sales in excess of $40 billion. In addition to food, refrigeration makes available more delicate cargo such as photographic film, pharmaceuticals, and flowers.

The Model "C" was the first self-contained unit designed for placing on the front wall of a truck or semi-trailer. Joseph A. Numero, once a manufacturer of sound systems for movie theaters, worked with Frederick M. Jones, a self-taught mechanical engineer (later Thermo King's vice president of engineering), to create an initial design from junkyard salvage. The challenges were to build a structural frame and refrigerant tubing connections that would withstand the constant pounding of road vibrations. The patent (#2,303,857) was applied for on November 16, 1939, and the first two models were on the road by 1942 in several states.

Civilian applications during World War II expanded the refrigeration unit's uses to various vehicles, warehouses, and shelters. Refinements led to the Model C, which was in production throughout the 1940s (patent improvements were granted in December 1943). It is a self-contained, front-mounted (usually seen above the cab), weighing far less with more efficiency. See ASME website for more information