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A glove compartment or glovebox or glovie is a compartment built into the dashboard, located over the front-seat passenger's footwell in an automobile, often used for miscellaneous storage. The name derives from the original purpose of the compartment, to store gloves. (Often in a box on the floorboard near the driver, hence "glovebox".) 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, or when parking while the convertible top is down, or when the compartment contains a mechanism to open the trunk).
Gloves were originally worn to keep the hands clean. Driving gloves were considered necessary equipment in early cars, many without a hard top, to prevent the cooling effect of fast-moving air from numbing drivers' hands.
In some vehicles, the inside of the compartment's door may have an area for holding cups when open, and a section for holding a pen or pencil. In some newer cars, the glove compartment is temperature controlled, allowing for its use as a cooler. In others, such as the Toyota Yaris hatchback, multiple glove compartments are provided.
A glove compartment is occasionally called a jockey box, especially in the United States (the upper Rocky Mountain states, such as Idaho). In South Africa, the glove compartment is called a cubby-hole.
According to the BBC Four programme "Penelope Keith and the Fast Lady", 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 the past, glove compartments typically had an internal light, which automatically turned on when the box was opened, facilitating the finding of materials therein. During the 2000s, many manufacturers started omitting the glove compartment light to cut costs; this included luxury vehicles. To date, aftermarket parts manufacturers have not provided solutions for this omission.
In South Africa, cubby-hole is the word for a glove compartment in a vehicle. This use is also common in Zimbabwe and Barbados, as well as parts of Southern Minnesota and Northwest Wyoming.
- "Glove Box Light or Lack of One". GMInsidenews.com. 2008-05-19. Retrieved 2012-09-25.