Years ago, when cassette players were the equivalent of CD players or even MP3 players in cars are now, cars did not come with cupholders. At all. Many were the drinks then that got spilled in cars because people believed the drinks were securely held to the back of the car seat beside them by available heavy objects such as books or purses.
Apparently, the first cupholder for cars was designed around 1950, because the November 1950 issue of Popular Mechanics contained the following picture and article, which I found listed at BoingBoing.com, in an article submitted by Cory Doctorow.
The Popular Mechanics article explained the following about the new design;
Travel snacks can be enjoyed while the car is in motion with a dashboard tray which prevents cold drinks or water glasses from tipping over. The tray hangs from two cords which are held on the dashboard by suction cups. Bottles or glasses rest on two disks which are suspended below the tray on chains. When not in use, the tray can be folded into small space for storage in the glove compartment.
This design did not go very far, obviously, because most cars in the United States did not have cupholders, that I recall, until the 1980’s or so. (Apparently, according to at least one source I found, cup holders are not a big deal in Europe in automobiles even today.) Finally, however, a car designer somewhere along the way came up with the idea of placing cupholders in their cars by taking areas that otherwise would be blank space, and hollowing out a little hole, about the size of a 12 ounce can of soda or a cup of coffee, somewhere in the console between the driver’s seat and the passenger’s seat. Another bright car designer realized that the occupants of the vehicle most likely to want drinks and need cupholders to avoid spilling would be youngsters in the back seat, at which point the back seat console complete with cupholder was born.
So far, so good, but then another trend started – the birth of the soda fountain at your local gas/convenience store. Originally, drinks came in about 12-16 ounce sizes that easily fit into your cupholder. Then the convenience stores decided to make people think they were getting a better bargain by making drink cups bigger, and the 32 ounce cup was born. At first, these cups did not fit into the cupholders in cars, but as their popularity grew, the carmakers enlarged the cupholders to accomodate the larger size cups. 32 ounces is a lot of anything, but still manageable.
But today I stopped at a convenience store to grab a drink, and the only two sizes available were 12 ounces and 44 ounces, sort of the Alpha and Omega of cups. I think it’s time to stop, people. 44 ounces is a lot of liquid! To get some idea of how much consider this: 44 ounces is the equivalent of one third of a gallon of milk! While the 44 ounce cup at this store was designed so that the bottom of the cup tapered to fit into the standard (32 ounce) cupholder in most cars, I am sure there are many other such cups out there that do not, and quite frankly, I think the carmakers are running out of space to do any more enlarging!
So, help out this new movement to stop the Super Size trend by selecting drinks no larger than 32 ounces when you get ready to purchase one, whether from a convenience store or a fast food place, before we drive the auto industry (further) to its knees!
Now, please excuse me so I can take a sip of my super-sized 44 ounce drink that I bought anyhow.
Have a great day everyone!