Useless stuff (Part II of II)
- November 9, 2019
- Auto Extended Warranty, Extended Auto Warranty, Extended Car Warranty
- Posted by Derek Weissman
- Leave your thoughts
In Part II, you’ll continue to marvel at the futility of some of these things …
This is a fun one. Many older cars featured some understandably basic instrumentation. A speedometer was present, but much more than that was typically not available (nor invented!). To monitor the fuel level in a car for example, dipping a stick into the gas tank was common. And to monitor the coolant temperature, well that was the job of a moto meter.
This handy little gadget was inserted on top of the radiator cap and it would measure the overall temperature in the radiator. Granted, one had to physically look at the gauge in real-time which was not necessarily all that easy, especially while driving. But it was better than nothing, and like the Woodlites, these are collector’s items that folks adore. In fact, the thermometers were so well fabricated that they look like pieces of art.
Maiming hood ornaments
The dictionary definition of maiming is to, “wound or injure (a person or animal) so that part of the body is permanently damaged.” Sounds rather ominous. Especially now in the context of hood ornaments doing this to someone (or an animal). But that’s exactly what they did, or could do, many years ago. For example, during the days of opulence and grander, like the Palace of Versailles and King Louis XIV. This king ruled France for roughly 72 years. Quite a run, and his chateaus and buildings in Versailles were built to impress. The same could be said of hood ornaments back in the day. One of the more iconic was the Rolls-Royce “Spirit of Ecstasy” ornament, a beautiful piece of work featuring a figure with wings. Another was the classic cupid with the bow and arrow, but these were big and imposing … and on the front of the car! This last point is important, because any crash involving the front of the car could easily maim that unlucky person or animal in the way.
The late 1960s put an end to maiming hood ornaments when federal agencies cracked down and passed more stringent regulations. Hood ornaments got smaller and lighter which was good news for human and animal alike.
Fuel pumps are commonplace in all cars today. But not so much 60 or 70 years ago. In fact, early rides didn’t have fuel pumps, so the gas tank sat above the engine (just in front of the windshield), and via sheer gravity alone the fuel was brought down to where it was needed most. This worked, most of the time, but if you found yourself on a steep hill for example, the fuel wouldn’t always flow down properly. What was then common was drivers traversing up sharp inclines backwards to keep the fuel streaming downward and the engine working. If the engine was cold however, starting it up was challenging. A priming cup would be used to capture gas to be dumped into the combustion chamber so the engine could start. This is where the phrase “priming the engine” came about.
In all fairness, some of these things did have a use to them. But not much …
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