The original Zamboni is a Frankenstein-like amalgamation of genius, elbow grease and trash-picked military surplus parts. Frank started with a Jeep engine, the chassis from an old oil derrick, a hydraulic cylinder from a Douglas Aircraft fighter plane and a paddle-and-chain system that, in theory, would shoot ice shavings into a tank. "My dad always said if people hadn't told him it was impossible, he probably never would have tried it," says the gray-haired Richard, who, equipped with a Timex watch and a pocket protector, could pass for Joe Gibbs' brainy little brother. "He couldn't draw a straight line, but he was a determined guy, and boy did he know how to make a beautiful sheet of ice." —ESPN
I like how the specific numbers make you visualize a zamboni in action, in slow-motion...
The Model A hit the ice for the first time in 1949. The key to the machine is a razor-sharp blade -- 77 inches long, half an inch thick and weighing 57 pounds -- that drags behind the unit's back wheels, where it can scrape 1/16th of an inch, or less, off the top of the ice. (NHL teams prefer 1/32nd of an inch.) At this depth the machine can remove up to 60 cubic feet of ice in one pass. That's enough shavings, company officials like to point out, for 3,661 snow cones.
Running parallel to the blade is a large horizontal screw (like what you see in a snowblower) that brings the shavings to the center of the machine. Another vertical screw, turning at 1,500 rpm, it lifts and shoots them into the large snow tank in the front of the vehicle. Finally, about 95 gallons of hot water is spread on the ice by a towel. Yes, hot water, which makes better ice because it melts the existing surface and bonds with it. It also accelerates evaporation, which freezes the ice faster,