Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by WonderFriend. WonderFriend Wonders, “Why do cars have glove compartments?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, WonderFriend!

When you ride in the car with your friends or family members, where do you keep your gloves? What do you mean you don’t wear gloves when you’re riding in a vehicle? There’s a special spot for them in every car! What are we talking about? The glove compartment, of course!

The glove compartment — sometimes called the glove box — is a special area built into the dashboard on the passenger side of most automobiles. It’s usually used to store many things, from registration papers and manuals to tire pressure gauges and packs of gum . . . and, yes, even gloves from time to time!

Today, most drivers don’t wear gloves when driving. Long ago, though, they were a common driving accessory. Early cars — many of which did not have a hard top — made gloves necessary to keep a driver’s hands warm. The fast-moving air could cool them quickly and make them numb. Especially in cooler climates.

People used gloves as a fashion accessory when they first produced cars, too. Some social events required these coverings over peoples’ hands.

Also, there were a lot of parts to a car, back in the day, that worked differently. Some had hand cranks for a starter. And the steering wheel and gear shift weren’t as comfortable as they are today. Gloves were often used to protect the driver’s hands.

So where would you keep your gloves when they weren’t being used? You probably guessed it already. The glove box! Over time, the name stuck, even after wearing gloves while driving became a thing of the past.

Glove boxes are still useful for storing items for a car. What’s in the glove box of the vehicle you ride in most often?

How handy are glove boxes? Very handy! Some cars today have spaces that allow them to be used as a cooler. Imagine taking a long drive and being able to pack a lunch in your glove box! Other vehicles even feature multiple glove boxes in several locations. This increases the storage capacity in a car. Automotive engineers have come up with many clever designs for storage inside modern vehicles.

Glove boxes are often called by other names in different parts of the United States and around the world. If you hear people talk about a “jockey box,” a “cubby hole” or a “torpedo compartment,” they’re talking about a glove box!

When you have your own car, what would you keep in your glove compartment?

Standards: CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.3, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.4, CCRA.L.5, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.SL.1, CCRA.W.2

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