Frederick Jones was born in Ohio in 1893. After a challenging childhood, he taught himself mechanical and electrical engineering, inventing a range of devices relating to refrigeration, sound and automobiles. Portable refrigeration units developed by Jones helped the United States military carry food and blood during World War II.
Over the course of his career, Jones received more than 60 patents. While the majority pertained to refrigeration technologies, others related to X-ray machines, engines and sound equipment.
Jones was recognized for his achievements both during his lifetime and after his death. In 1944, he became the first African American elected to the American Society of Refrigeration Engineers. Jones died of lung cancer in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on February 21, 1961.