a little bit
of driving gloves
driving gloves do have a purpose
"On gloves -- never wear woolen gloves, but gloves made of good soft kid.
You will find room for these gloves in the little drawer under the seat of the car."
-- Dorothy Levitt, 1909, pioneering feminist and car girl.
The driving glove makes its appearance during the 1890s. All steering wheels were made from uncovered metal. Internal heating in cars was not available since all cars were convertibles. Needless to say, during winter time it was cold and during summer, an uncovered metal steering wheel could get slippery when sweating and got sometimes too hot to grab.
The used gloves looked like gauntlet gloves and were usually lined, meaning they had an inner layer of wool, fur or lambskin. It was not that important in the early days to have great sensitivity and contact with the steering wheel, rather a firm grip and some muscles to go in a straight line.
"you are still
using the term Glove box,
Another very important reason for wearing driving gloves was to protect the driver's hands from splinters if you didn't had a metal steering wheel. Some cars were provided with a wooden steering wheel. One can imagine that the process of carving wood was not as good as nowadays, leaving the possibility open of incurring splinters in your hands after a drive.
Summing it up; in the very early 1900s, the automobile wasn’t that comfortable as today making the driving glove an essential accessory to operate your vehicle and to keep you a little warm.But even in the ’60, when cars were provided with a front window and a heating system, driving gloves were extremely popular and considered a must-have accessory for fashion-conscious folks.
While gloves are not essential these days when operating a vehicle, they used to be far more so–both for functional and fashionable purposes.
The driving gloves will also help you preserve the steering wheel against your lovely human oils and sweat. “Who does like to drive a car with a steering wheel falling apart?” Driving gloves will help you to have a better steering wheel grip (please notice that lamb leather driving gloves will be slippery on a leather steering wheel, peccary driving gloves will properly stick) and offer a lot of comfort during both warm and cold temperatures.
And even now... one can still find the influence of driving gloves in its very own car, I mean: you are still using the term glove box, aren’t you? A great hommage, thank you Dorothy!