Today's column is dedicated to Gary who writes: "Why do we call that space in our car's dash, a glove box (or glove compartment) ...And have you ever heard the same referred to as a jockey box?"
Short answer: yes! Now here's the scoop...
For starters, that the box held gloves makes sense, but jockey? (You've either got a very short driver, or a different form of garment being stashed all together. Those of you thinking of the same joke I am, please refrain.)
A glovebox is, as the phrase suggests, a compartment where once, early drivers stored their gloves.
But before you say "duh" you might find it interesting to note that in the earliest automobiles, gloves were necessary equipment. Why? Well, believe it or not, the first big consumer complaint of Henry Ford's "horseless buggy" was the freeze factor as the first cars were not fully enclosed and those up front got cold fingers and noses.
But jockey box? (For starters, call it that and I'll know you're not from here...more likely from the Mid West or Canada, but I digress.)
Think jockey, and you think "horse riders" and for good reason. Linguists tells us term jockey was a derivative of the generic name Jack (a.k.a. their version of John Doe), which was the nickname given those farm hands who worked with horses. By the mid-17th century, these jacks (think jack of all trades) evolved to jockeys, covering a wider range of horse-whisperin' professionals, including carriage drivers and race trainers.
The first jockey boxes were small locked containers found under the driver's seat, used to store tools or other personal belongings. As cars replaced horses, glove box replaced jockey box as the term of choice for that same space found in cars today, used for more or less the same.
And that, as Paul Harvey would say, is the rest of the story!
Karlen Evins is the author of Southern to the Core: An Evins Family Cookbook and the "I Didn't Know That" series of columns and books. For more information, please visit www.karlenevins.com