Car Wash - Winter 2015 - (Page 70)
F R O M
T H E
car wash history
BEFORE THE MOTOR
THERE WERE LOTS
MILES OF MUDDY
We occasionally provide excerpts
from The Great American Car Wash
Story. Former ICA Executive Director
Gus Trantham and veteran commercial
writer John Beck wrote this book in
1994. It represents the most complete
history we have found of the industry in
North America. Enjoy.
HOW TO WASH A CARRIAGE
There have been many tales told about
the origin of car washing, some antedating
Hollywood, but none can hold a candle
to the yarn spun by William McVeigh of
Mesa, Arizona. McVeigh used to operate the Capital Auto Wash in Battle
Creek, Michigan, and he recently wrote
about how - years ago - at one of his
Michigan Carwash Association meetings,
a Dr. Miller of DuBois Chemical gave his
own version of the real beginning of the
car wash industry.
According to Dr. Miller: "The guy who
started it all was Alexander the Great!
He had his soldiers polish their chariots
with olive oil and lambs' wool because
this helped to dazzle his enemies into
submission much easier."
Well, now! If that's true, old Alex would
have made a great automobile dealer,
wouldn't he, dazzling prospects into submission? But that oil could have picked up
an awful lot of dust! What a tale!
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On the other hand, it might not be too
far-fetched. Alexander did have some kind
of secret for using his comparatively small
army to conquer hosts much larger than
his own. And he did bequeath us a dazzling reputation for getting things done.
And too, the chariots provided about the
only means of wheeled transport right up
until and including the Roman empire.
In face, the word "car" comes from the
Latin "carrus" for "chariot" or "cart," and
many a present day car owner will refer to
his vehicle as "that old chariot."
In Roman cities, the slots left for the
chariot wheels in street crossings had a
width of up to 56 inches, and when the
British started to develop steam locomotives they adopted this width as the standard gauge for the train wheels, which
has continued down to the present day.
It also appears that this was adopted as
the prevailing gauge for motor cars when
they came along to put the human race
But to get back to the idea of washing
chariots. Before the motor car arrived,
there were lots of carriages around that
needed attention, especially after navigating many miles of muddy roads.
It was Kenneth Wells of the Boyertown
Museum who reminded us of this when
he took us on a tour of historic vehicles.
"The proper care of carriages could
require considerable work," he pointed
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Car Wash - Winter 2015
Letter from the ICA
Meet the Board
By the Numbers
Seven trends affecting the future workforce
Talent development and company culture
The Affordable Care Act in action: Preparing for reporting in 2016
Still stuck in traffic
Car washes in the fast lane
Car Wash Show Europe launch a huge success
Enning, Loogman inducted to Car Wash Hall of Fame
Take a Tour
If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck…
A gentler approach to damage claims
Women in Car Wash: Linda Parker
Blast from the Past
Women in Car Wash: Mandi Brower
5 ways to build trust in a business
Index of Advertisers
Car Wash - Winter 2015