July 10, 2018

A Six Dollar Golf Wager

The bet that started 80 years of innovation at Thermo King

In 2018, Thermo King celebrates 80 years … of not only innovation, but countless 'market firsts' that created an industry and continually evolved it to be better. From the very first transport refrigeration unit, the "Model A," to our most recent models – the SLXi and the Precedent, Thermo King has been committed to delivering solutions that meet current customer and industry challenges while never compromising the integrity of the product being transported.

​"It's quite mind-boggling to think that Thermo King was the result of a $6 bet wagered between Joe Numero, a manufacturer of sound equipment for movie theaters, and three of his close friends who had just completed an afternoon of golf," said Dane Taival, vice president and general manager, Transport Solutions North America.

​"As the story goes from that hot summer day, one of the men had just 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 was lost. When challenged to create a mechanical refrigeration unit to replace the – not so reliable -- blocks of ice that were being used to cool semi-trailers at the time, Joe impulsively responded that he and his engineer Fred Jones could do it in 30 days. And the rest is history!"

And what a history it has been. Joe ultimately became the founder and first president of U.S. Thermo Control, now Thermo King Corporation. Joe and Fred's Model A was patented and became the first successful mechanical refrigeration unit to keep perishable products from spoiling during shipment. This invention not only revolutionized how perishable products are shipped, but also created the refrigerated transport industry.

Through the last 80 years, Thermo King has stayed true to its innovative spirit and has never backed down to the ongoing challenges that have presented themselves – from customers, the industry or changing regulations.

"Thermo King's inventive spirit is stronger than ever. We have the winning culture and talent in place, and that same determination that Joe and Fred demonstrated in the beginning," said Pauli Johannesen, vice president and general manager, Transport Solutions Truck, Trailer and Bus EMEA.

"This dedication will continue to drive us forward in our quest to continually improve our products and services so that our customers, the industry and the world have viable transport solutions that deliver both perishable and non-perishable goods for years to come."

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