Leif Allred


September 2017

Put a child in your antique car.  Ask them to find a good place to put a 12-oz can let alone a 32-oz soda cup?  Food blog Bon Appetit reports that designers in the early days of car production worked under the assumption that drivers would actually take a break from their journeys to eat and drink.  The drive-in created a need for having the snack inside a stationary vehicle.

The first patent for a cup holder was filed in the U.S. in February 1950.  However, it wasn’t until the 1980s that car makers included them as standard.  The Refreshment Tray for Automobile Instrument Panel, patent number 2745705, filed in May 1953, included two wells to receive beverage bottles and retain them in an upright position even during movement of the automobile.  My modernish German vehicles can’t even do that thus relegating the cup holders as receptacles for loose change. 

Now, finding a conveniently placed ash tray is quite easy.  There are two in the 1950 Packard—in the dash and inserted into the back of the front bench seat.  Connecticut Automotive Specialty Company (Casco) patented its version of an automotive cigarette lighter in 1928.  But you should still put a child in your antique.  That’s why we keep these old cars around, right?