Skip to main content

Thermo King records

Identifier: umja0180

Scope and Contents

This collection contains four series: biographical information about Joseph Numero and Frederick Jones, financials, blueprints, and admistrative materials of Thermo King Corporation. Information from previous and parent companies, such as St. Louis Foundry and Westinghouse,is also present. Materials span from 1937 until 1989, with the bulk from the 1960's.


  • 1937-1989, undated

Conditions Governing Access

Open for use in the Elmer L. Andersen Library reading room.


This collection may be protected by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, U.S. Code). It is the user's responsibility to verify copyright ownership and to obtain all necessary permissions prior to the reproduction, publication, or other use of any portion of these materials. Researchers may quote from the collection under the fair use provision of the copyright law.

Biographical / Historical

In 1933,Joseph Numero partnered with Fredrick Jones to form what is now known as the Thermo King Corporation. In 1938 Jones was tasked with inventing the first mobile refrigeration unit. That invention led to the cabibility to refrigerate every form of transportation and a major contribution in wartime life-saving care.

Joseph Numero was born November 1, 1896 in St. Paul, Minnesota to Jewish immigrants, with his grandmother arriving in the U.S. in the 1870's as a widow. Prior to starting Thermo King Co. in 1956, Numero was predident and CEO of U.S. Thermo Control and various other companies. He was finally awaded his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Minnesota at age 91 because in 1928 Numero's World War I services didn't meet the R.O.T.C. requirement for graduation. Numero gave generously- he contributed help build the Joseph and Blanche Numero Building on the Sholom Home West Campus in St. Louis Park; founded Numero Foundation for the Needy in 1950; as well as contributing to organizations Jewish and non-Jewish, such as Mt. Sinai Hospital, YMCA, and College of St. Thomas (now University).

Frederick Jones was born May 17, 1893 in Covington, KY. He only had a few years of formal education, but that didn't stop Jones from aquiring over 25 patents and becoming instrumental in the creation of refrigerated transportation. Jones worked in Hallock, MN on James J. Hill's farm after working with racing cars. In Hallock Jones invented the town's first radio station transmitter,a portable X-Ray machine, and a unit that transfered sound to the amplifier used in movie theaters. When he came to the Twin Cities to work with Numero, it took a "dare" for Jones to invent the refrigerated truck that would revolutionize the industry. Jones became chief engineer and vice-president of Theromo King Co, and an honorary member of the American Society of Refrigeration Engineers- the first black member.


5 Linear Feet (2 paige boxes, 2 legal Hollinger boxes, 5 flat file drawers)

Language of Materials



This colections contains materials about Joseph Numero and Fredrick James, the founders of Thermo King, and materials from the Thermo King Corporation.


This collection is divided into series:

Series 1: Numero and Jones biographical information

Series 2: Financials

Series 3: Administrative

Series 4: Blue prints and bills of material

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by James Steinfeldt, Joseph Numero's nephew, in January 2021.

Processing Information

Collection processed thanks to financial support from the Sharron and Oren Steinfeldt Foundation.

Thermo King records, 1937-1989
Ashley Skwiera
August 2022
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Collecting Area Details

Contact The Upper Midwest Jewish Archives Collecting Area