Some gloveboxes are an opening in the dash above the front passenger’s feet, but many have doors that open and close with a simple twist or push of a pushbutton latch. In the modern day, most glove boxes may be locked so valuables may be safely stored. This is the case according to this RAM truck dealer in Yonkers, NY.
Automotive makers have built gloveboxes into vehicles for almost 100 years. The “glovebox” name comes from the original purpose of the compartment – glove storage. You see, in the early days of motoring, many car models were open; meaning that they didn’t have tops, or they had partial convertible tops. With cars like these, a driver’s hands could be subjected to the cooling effects of quickly moving air and this could get uncomfortable.
Automotive historians trace the start of glove boxes back to the Packard Motor Company, which designed items like the current gloveboxes in the 1900s. The term “glove box” is not universal by any means, though. In the Northwest United States, glove boxes are referred to as “jockey boxes”. In Britain, they are commonly referred to as “cubby holes.” An alternative term in the western world is “glove compartment.”
Throughout the years, the glovebox’s original purpose has evolved. Gloves aren’t necessities anymore but have a predictable spot in a car for item storage. Today, glove boxes have become the standard place to store important automotive documents, such as car registrations, and other things.
For many decades, many glove boxes were produced internal lights that turned on when one opened the box. This could be a huge help to those who had to dig around in the box at night to obtain documents or other items.
In the 1960s and 1970s, a number of glove boxes had an embossed area on their doors so that when one folded them down, cups could be placed on the door. Unfortunately, those shallow impressions didn’t stabilize cups well when cars were being driven. It is a logical conclusion to say they these attempts at soft drink or water stabilization lead directly to the design and implementation of your modern day automotive cup holders.
And glove boxes have received technology features, too. In the 2008 model year, Dodge put “Chill Zone” glove compartments in their Avengers. The Chill Zone was a big refrigerated beverage storage bin located in the passenger-side upper dash. The Chill Zone had multiple folding doors and could hold up to four 12-ounce beverage cans.
Nissan also has glove compartments on some of their models. Targeting young drivers, the Rogue crossover and Sentra sedan both have glove compartments deep enough to swallow laptop computers. That capability is designed to help drivers who want a safe and secure place to secure their laptops when they’re driving.
As for the future, it is hard to tell where we might see the glove box evolve. As with all automotive things, the only constant “is change itself” so we will to have to be wait and see.