The Chicago Files

A CANADIAN EXPAT'S EXPERIENCES AND OBSERVATIONS LIVING IN THE WINDY CITY!

Car Wash Bowl 1920 Geoffrey Baer

– photo courtesy of theoldmotor.com

No, please be my guest and have a longer look at the above photo.  I’ll be more than happy to wait; after all, it’s Valentine’s Day, and I have a delightful little box of all-sorts sitting beside me, taunting me for my attention!

Ah, you’re back! Great!  I was utterly impressed by the ingenuity of the, “Auto Wash Bowl”.  And what a wash bowl it was!  First appearing in St. Paul, Minnesota, the bowl soon became a hit on the Chicago car circuit.

Chicago’s answer to bathtubs for big cars arrived in the form of a large basin-shaped construction.  At a reasonable price of just 25 cents, an attendant would place a cover over the car’s radiator to protect it from the car cleansing!  Car owners would then drive ‘into’ the bowl, complete several circular laps while the ridged concrete of the bowl removed some of the mud and dirt from the vehicle’s undercarriage.

Now Henry

– photo courtesy of picasaweb.google.com

Interesting the car in the above newspaper ad is referred to as, “Henry”, don’t you think? Ah, Mr. Henry Ford, methinks you’ve had more than your fair share of motorized monikers!

A resounding, “Everybody out of the pool” was heard (just kidding; but it would be rather funny, don’t you think?) For those who needed the deluxe cleaning, a quick drive out of the bowl and into a service bay was in order, where an attendant would take over to, ‘finish the job’ (I did say it was the, “Chicago Way” now, didn’t I?)  *grin*

For those who wanted to jump in with both feet (and car), you, yes YOU could own your very own automatic, automobile bathing bowl:

Wash Bowl Chicago– photo courtesy of picasaweb.google.com

Ah, Saturdays at the ‘ol Auto Wash Bowl; good, clean, car fun!

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28 thoughts on “Clean Your Car, “The Chicago Way”

  1. John says:

    Does it get all that nasty salt off the entire car? 🙂

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    1. seaangel4444 says:

      *LOL* Excellent question, John!!! 🙂 Cher xo

      Like

  2. Ha ha ha – such early innovation! No really surprised they decided it was easier to spray the water on the car. Our luck and we’d have stalled after driving into the pool 😉

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    1. seaangel4444 says:

      *biggest grin* It was quite something, wasn’t it? Ah yes, the sprayer was no doubt soon behind the ‘bowl invention’, as it were! *LOL* I would be stalled after the pool, too!! Cher xo

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Don says:

    Fascinating – that’s why I so enjoy your blog, Cher, full of surprises and often with an unassuming educational slant to it.Wonderful stuff.

    Like

    1. seaangel4444 says:

      Thank you so much, Don! You have literally made my week! I do appreciate your thoughtful words! Thank you!!! Cher xo

      Liked by 1 person

  4. andy1076 says:

    lol if they only knew of Vancouver floods lately 😛

    Like

    1. seaangel4444 says:

      Flooding in Van? What’s going on, Andy? Happy Valentine’s Day, by the way! *extra ice cream* Cher xo

      Liked by 1 person

      1. andy1076 says:

        Well, a month ago now we had non stop torrential rain in North Van that flooded at least 30 homes, like literally turned their basements into swimming pools, caused the city over 5 million in damages :O

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      2. seaangel4444 says:

        Oh no! I had no idea! We don’t get a lot of Canuck news here as you can probably imagine. I’m really sorry about that. 😦

        Liked by 1 person

      3. andy1076 says:

        Oh I was fine, I’m on the other mountain, where we were okay except for some heavily flooded on and off ramps which proved an interesting drive, the poor kids though that were affected :-/

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      4. seaangel4444 says:

        Ah, well I am really glad you were fine! Yes, the poor kids that were affected; that must have been really difficult for them.

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      5. andy1076 says:

        Hapee Valentines! xo 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  5. What a great story. So advanced at the time. Now, you can just run your car through a tunnel of big, heavy brushes and other instruments running across your car and hope for the best. If all goes well, the dirt is removed and none of your car’s external parts are scratched or worse, left dangling, as you pull out.

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    1. seaangel4444 says:

      It was really advanced at the time, wasn’t it, Bruce? Oh my goodness, yes, those contraptions are almost too powerful, I think. I wonder how many ‘extra’ items have been left behind after a day of an automatic car wash! Perhaps the auto wash bowl wasn’t such a bad idea after all! Cher xo

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Brilliant and perfect. I really laughed. Thanks for sharing. Hope you are surviving the cold. Hugs, Barbara

    Like

    1. seaangel4444 says:

      Thank you so much, dear Barbara! I am so glad to hear that! Yes, we are staying inside a lot this weekend! Thank you also for the reblog! Muchly appreciated!! Hugs, Cher xo

      Like

  7. yeseventhistoowillpass says:

    Wow those were the days…I wasn’t there but still those were the days…

    Like

    1. seaangel4444 says:

      Quite something, wasn’t it! Cher xo

      Liked by 1 person

      1. yeseventhistoowillpass says:

        I guess those were simple times….

        Liked by 1 person

      2. seaangel4444 says:

        Indeed, they certainly were!!

        Like

  8. That’s certainly a fascinating slice of Chicago history – would love to have seen it in action!

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    1. seaangel4444 says:

      Me too, Veronica! It must have been a sight to see! And I am sure for the time it seemed ‘advanced’! Cher xo

      Like

  9. Joseph Nebus says:

    Well, that’s one solution to the problem of washing cars, although it seems like it’d have problems with how Model T’s had the power to churn through a straight line at a middling speed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. seaangel4444 says:

      I am thinking the industrious ‘inventors’ of the wash bowl didn’t think everything through before opening up the bowl, as it were! Somehow I think necessity was the mother of this invention, despite its shortcomings! I do think it looks rather fun though, don’t you think so? *grin* Cher xo

      Like

  10. Katsumi says:

    Salt was not widely used as a road de-icer in 1924.

    My question: During the Chicago winter, does it become the Auto Ice SKating Rink?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. seaangel4444 says:

      That is such a great question! It actually doesn’t; however, in Canada, many places it certainly does become Auto Ice Skating Ring! *LOL* Perhaps back in 1924 Chicago it sure did! 🙂 Cher xo

      Like

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