Frederick McKinley Jones (May 17, 1893 – February 21, 1961) was an African American inventor, entrepreneur, winner of the National Medal of Technology, and inductee of the National Inventors Hall of Fame. His innovations in refrigeration brought great improvement to the long-haul transportation of perishable goods.
Jones was born in Cincinnati, Ohio on May 17, 1893 He was orphaned at the age of nine. He was then raised by a priest in Kentucky.Jones left school after grade six and left the rectory to return to Cincinnati at age eleven, where he got a job first as a cleaning boy and by age fourteen he was working as an automobile mechanic. He boosted his natural mechanical ability and inventive mind with independent reading and study. In 1912, Jones moved to Hallock, Minnesota, where he worked as a mechanic on a 50,000-acre (200 km2) farm. After service with the U.S. Army in World War I, Jones returned to Hallock; while employed as a mechanic, Jones taught himself electronics and built a transmitter for the town’s new radio station. He also invented a device to combine sound with motion pictures. This attracted the attention of Joseph A. Numero of Minneapolis, Minnesota, who hired Jones in 1930 to improve the sound equipment made by his firm, Cinema Supplies Inc.