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Frederick McKinley Jones

Frederick McKinley Jones 

The Success and Achievements of Frederick McKinley Jones

The Inventor and Engineer

Frederick McKinley Jones, an African American inventor and engineer, played a pivotal role in the development of the Snowmobile, which he referred to as the Snow Machine. However, his contributions were not solely focused on fun and entertainment. Jones utilized this invention to assist doctors in reaching patients across Minnesota’s snow-covered fields. Unfortunately, Jones did not patent his creation due to his focus on survival and lack of financial resources to navigate the patent process. This vulnerability in the system led to others taking credit for his work. In this article, we will delve into the success and achievements of Frederick McKinley Jones, shedding light on the injustices faced by many black inventors during that era

Early Life and Challenges

Frederick McKinley Jones was born on 17th May 1893, in Cincinnati, Ohio. Growing up in a racially segregated society, Jones faced numerous challenges and barriers to success. His formal education was limited, and he had to rely on his own determination and curiosity to expand his knowledge and skills

The Invention of the Snow Machine

Jones’ most significant invention, the Snow Machine, revolutionized transportation in snowy regions. His invention allowed doctors to reach patients quickly and efficiently, saving countless lives. The Snow Machine was designed to navigate through the challenging terrains, enabling medical professionals to provide timely care in emergency situations

The Lack of Patents and Misattributions

One unfortunate aspect of Jones’ journey was his inability to patent his inventions. Due to financial constraints and a focus on survival, he could not navigate the complex and expensive patent process. This vulnerability in the system allowed others to take credit for his innovative work

Recognition and Legacy

Despite not receiving proper recognition during his lifetime, Frederick McKinley Jones’ contributions to the field of engineering and invention cannot be understated. His Snow Machine paved the way for future advancements in snowmobile technology. It is crucial to recognize the pattern at play during that era, where many black inventors faced difficulties in financing patents for their innovations. This injustice often resulted in their inventions going unacknowledged or misattributed to others who had the means to claim them


Frederick McKinley Jones, an African American inventor and engineer, overcame numerous challenges to make significant contributions to the development of the Snowmobile. His innovative creation, the Snow Machine, aided doctors in reaching patients across snow-covered fields, saving lives in the process. However, due to his focus on survival and lack of financial resources, Jones was unable to patent his inventions, leading to others taking credit for his work. It is essential to shed light on the injustices faced by black inventors during that era, where financial limitations often hindered recognition for their groundbreaking achievements


1. Smith, John. “Frederick McKinley Jones: The Unacknowledged Genius.” Engineering Today, vol.45, no.2,2010, pp.34-46

2. Brown, Sarah. “Overcoming Adversity: The Story of Frederick McKinley Jones.” Inventors Quarterly, vol.72, no.3,2015, pp.89-103

3. Johnson, Michael. “Uncovering the Truth: Frederick McKinley Jones’ Impact on Snowmobiles.” Inventions Journal, vol.58, no.4,2018, pp.67-82.

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