The Mechanical Genius: Frederick Jones McKinley
Our ancestors were more than just slaves who lived on plantations, picked cotton and sung hymns. Our ancestors were INVENTORS.
Meet Frederick Jones McKinley, born in Covington, Kentucky on May 17, 1893. Fredrick paved the way for what we still use today known as the refrigerator or the “refrigeration system.” McKinley was highly skilled with his hands, teaching himself and eventually becoming a master at electronic devices. McKinley received a patent for his refrigeration system on July 12, 1940. His invention preserved food for long hauls without the use of ice and salt, which were not very effective. This refrigeration system allowed food to be transported by trucks, the railroad system, ships – you name it – without the food going bad.
This mechanical genius is also responsible for a self starting gas engine, multiple devices for movie projectors, and the ticket dispenser used in the box office of the movie theater. Frederick received over 60 patents in his lifetime! Despite the lack of a formal education, Frederick was the recipient of the National Medal Technology Award and the first African American to do so.
Wanna know how the refrigeration system even became an idea for McKinley? Well, he was listening to the complaint of a truck driver whose chickens didn’t make the haul because the trip was a long one and the truck’s storage compartment overheated, which inspired the idea. This conversation was also the birth of the air conditioning unit, invented by our ancestor Mckinley as well!
So the next time you open your refrigerator, go to the movies, or turn on that A/C do so in remembrance of Frederick Jones Mckinley!