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Early Car Wash Bowl


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3 hours ago, 63RedBrier said:

Would be cool to know where the Auto Wash Bowl was located?

Here’s a photo from 1924 and shows a newfangled type of car wash that stood at the northwest corner of 42nd Street and South Michigan Avenue.

There was at least one other auto wash bowl in Chicago–the concept actually originated in St. Paul, Minn. It was patented in 1921 by inventor C.P. Bohland, who opened two locations in St. Paul. He devised the bowl as an easy way to clean mud off of the underside of cars. Back in this early age of motoring, roads were often unpaved and muddy, and that mud would get caked on the underside of the car and the wheels–but a spin in the nifty Auto Wash Bowl took care of that.

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The quarter for the Auto Wash Bowl is about $4 now - not unreasonable.  I don't understand the purpose of the rubber radiator cover.  Did it keep the water from quick-cooling a hot radiator, thereby possibly causing a leak?  But it doesn't seem that would be any worse than driving through deep water on the road or during a hard rain.


I used to frequent one of those drive-through tunnel washes with whirling brushes (yeah, I know - bad for the finish).  It had jets that sprayed soap and rinse water on the wheels as you went through.

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The model T is most likely a 1924 model coupe. That particular body coupe was only used for 1924 and 1925. The 30 X 3 1/2 clincher wheels and tires were available both years, however, the new style 21 inch balloon style wheels and tires were only available in 1925 and beyond on the model T Ford. While a few people did option for the earlier style clinchers in 1925? Nearly all coupe and sedan buyers in 1925 went for the new style 21 inch wheels and tires. So, while the car could be a 1925, it is most likely a 1924.


The other car I am not sure. A Cadillac has been suggested. I don't know if it may be a 'depth-of-field issue? But the other car looks a bit too small relative to the Ford. 


Being the guy that cleaned all that mud washed off the cars from the wash bowl would have been a 'fun' job.

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