IN 1938 THE WORLD CHANGED FOREVER THANKS TO THERMO KING
On a hot summer day, Joe Numero, a manufacturer of sound equipment for movie theaters, along with three of his close friends, just completed an afternoon of golf. One of the men in the group received word that a truck he owned had broken down en route from South St. Paul to Chicago, and the entire load of fresh chickens had spoiled.
Another of the men suggested Numero build a mechanical refrigeration unit to replace blocks of ice currently used to cool semi-trailers. Numero, who liked challenges, responded on impulse by saying, “We can build a unit for you in 30 days.” This remark ultimately propelled Numero into becoming the founder and first president of U.S. Thermo Control, now known as Thermo King.
Joseph Numero and Frederick Jones patent the first transport refrigeration unit, the "Model A," in 1938. This landmark invention ushered in the era of frozen foods, large supermarkets and the restaurant industry, as we know it today. Refrigerated transport also made the delivery of fresh produce anywhere in the country a possibility, no matter what the season.
Mounted underneath the trailer, the Thermo King Model A was the first workable, mechanical transport refrigeration system.