BRAKE RETRO: The Ice Queen and the Zamboni

zamboni-henie-brakesSonja Henie won the gold medal for figure skating at the 1928, 1932 and 1936 Winter Olympics. She was hired in 1944 to be the spokes person for the National Safety Council (precursor to the NHTSA and DOT) to promote safe winter driving. In those days driving a can with four wheel drum brakes in the winter was a difficult task that required much more concentration to get the car to stop straight.

zamboniThe real legacy of Henie is the she bought one of the first Zamboni ice resurfacers for her traveling ice skating show in 1950. As she traveled around the country with the odd machine that was based on a military surplus Jeep, ice rink owners took notice and orders for Frank Zamboni’s odd machine started to pour in.