Having a cup holder in your car might not be that big of a deal for you. By now, this attachment is pretty commonplace. It's found in almost any type of vehicle either as a standard feature or an aftermarket piece for your convenience. But a few decades back, they didn't think much of this drink holder. Some even felt that it's an unnecessary frill, only to be proven wrong as more motorists would order drinks-to-go and enjoy their hot beverages or cool refreshments on the road. The cup holder has become a significant interior accessory as convenience stores popped up in every corner and takeouts from fast food chains, coffee shops, and beverage stands became more of a habit for soccer moms, workers, motorists, and practically anyone who's hungry or thirsty but on a hurry. Before cup holders made sense to manufacturers, car owners, and passengers, here's a bit of a story that goes with this neat car accessory.
Fun facts about the cup holder:
- Before cup holders were invented, cars in the .20s, like the Ford Model T, came with a lot of aftermarket accessories, some of which are typically found at home. Quirky additions to the vehicle include flower vases for the dashboard and a sort of a kitchenette (with a fold-out table and compartments) attached to running boards.
- The popularity of drive-ins and drive-thru windows in the .50s paved the way for the invention of cup holders. One of the earlier designs of cup-holding devices came in a .snack tray for car. that's hanging from the dash.
- Over the years, holder designs had evolved, from the automobile seat article holder and refreshment tray for automobile instrument panel cup to the proto-cup holder attached to the back of the glove compartment and the magnetized glove compartment with a set of metal tumblers. In the .60s, holders came in trays attached to the door's window well. From pull-out trays, a step toward the right direction was made when the Dodge Caravan and Plymouth Voyager came equipped with real cup holders attached to the dashboard. Soon, cup holders became a common car feature.
- If there were doubts about cup holders being a significant interior accessory, they were cast aside after the settlement of a 1994 lawsuit filed by a 79-year old woman, Stella Liebeck, against McDonald's. Liebeck got a third-degree burn when scalding hot coffee, which was sitting on her lap, was spilled while she's in a car. She got hundreds of thousands of dollars for damages.
When buying a cup holder:
- Get a holder (which can be made of plastic, aluminum, or stainless steel) that's sturdy enough to hold the beverage in place, especially when the vehicle is moving. Some holders come with spring-loaded gripper arms or other similar features to keep drinks from spilling and leaving stains.
- Use a holder that can accommodate different cup and bottle sizes. Take note of their sizes, particularly the diameter.
- Look for easy-to-use holders, which can be adjusted, detached, or moved easily. Designs vary for OE replacements and aftermarket items.
To deal with spills and moisture buildup on the cup holder:
- Keep the holder clean.
- Place a napkin, folded paper towel, or a round sponge at the bottom of the holder to absorb moisture and spills.
- Use an insulated travel mug or cup and a coaster.