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A glove compartment or glove box is a compartment built into the dashboard of an automobile, located over the front-seat passenger's footwell, and often used for miscellaneous storage. The name derives from the original purpose of the compartment, to store driving gloves. They were sometimes in a box on the floorboard near the driver, hence the word "glove box". In most vehicles, the glove compartment closes with a latch, with the option of being locked with a key (often desirable when using valet service, when parking with the convertible top down, or when the compartment contains a mechanism to open the trunk).
Other local names
An early innovation was the addition of a storage compartment on the front or dashboard of the 1900 Packard.
Driving gloves were considered necessary equipment in early cars, many of which were mostly open to the weather, to prevent the cooling effect of fast-moving air from numbing drivers' hands. Gloves are still considered necessary equipment on motorcycles for the same reason, although, unlike cars, most motorcycles do not have glove boxes.
According to the BBC Four program Penelope Keith and the Fast Lady (Aaron Syer), Dorothy Levitt first coined the phrase glove compartment as she advised motorists to carry a number of pairs of gloves to deal with many eventualities.
In some vehicles, the inside of the compartment's door may have an indented area for cups or beverage containers when open. These were for use while at a drive-in while the car was stationary, not in the modern applications of cup holders. Some glove compartments have sections for holding a pen or pencil. There were storage compartments on the backs of the seats to hold a woman's bag or rain apparel in the 1955 and 1956 Dodge LaFemme. The 1957 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham featured a cocktail set with magnetized cups in its dashboard compartment.
In the past, glove compartments typically contained an internal light. This light automatically turned on when the box was opened, helping to search its contents. From the 2000s, many manufacturers have not provided this light, to cut costs, even in luxury vehicles.
- Miller, Aaron (January 22, 2016). "The Weirdly Fascinating History of the Glove Compartment". Thrillist. Retrieved February 10, 2022.
- Eschner, Kat. "Advice for Drivers From Dorothy Levitt, the Pre-War Racing Record Breaker You've Never Heard Of". Smithsonian. Retrieved 2019-04-25.
- Hunting, Benjamin (February 10, 2020). "How the 1955 Dodge La Femme missed the mark on designing cars for women". Hagerty Media. Retrieved February 10, 2022.
- Prentice, John (July 11, 2019). "This 1957 Cadillac has a bar in the glove box". Seattle Refined. Retrieved February 10, 2022.
- Barry, Keith (May 5, 2009). "Cool Feature. Lame Car". Wired. Retrieved February 10, 2022.
- "Glove Box Light or Lack of One". GM Inside News. 2008-05-19. Retrieved 2012-09-25.