Born to a white father and a black mother, Frederick was eventually left to be raised by his father alone, who then died when he was nine years old. At the age of eleven, he ran away from his living situation and went to Cincinnati and survived by working, where he developed a talent for automobile mechanics. When he was twenty, he earned an engineering license, and served in the U.S. Army during World War 1 where he repeatedly made repairs to war equipment. His greatest accomplishment was probably the invention of the portable air-cooling unit for trucks that were carrying perishables, which was used extensively during World War 2. He also founded the U.S. Thermo Control Company which grew exponentially during the same time period. He earned more than 60 patents during his life, many not even related to refrigeration technologies. He passed away from lung cancer in February of 1961.
Today, Thermo Control Company is known as the Thermo King Corporation. It was acquired in 1997 for $2.56 billion.