Americans. We love our cars. It’s partly why we’re fat. Remember when we dressed up to go to dinner? That began to change in the 20’s with Drive-In restaurants.
In 1921, America’s first drive-in restaurant, Kirby’s Pig Stand, opened in Dallas, Texas.
People could also go inside to eat, or sit themselves down at one of Kirby’s Pig Stand’s picnic tables. (What a name!)
Sidebar: Continuing the trend to cars: A patent for Drive-in movie theaters was rendered in New Jersey in 1932. The most famous Drive-in was featured in song, called the “Plattsburgh Drive-In Blues.” (Which is kind of odd considering Plattsburgh is only warm enough for the theater to have been open about four months out of the year.)
The glory years: When the Drive-in became hot, nationally.
Drive-in restaurants meant we never needed to get out of the car,
and Carhops delivered our meals on roller skates. They got quite a bit of exercise.
That lasted long enough for Mel’s Drive-in and, the seminal movie about the late 50’s and early 60s, American Graffiti. Not exactly how we got fat.
But drive-in restaurants played a role, due to cars.
We got fat due to: Car cup holders.
Eventually automakers, still without seemingly much interest, added cup holders.
The design appeared to be
Nothing was gimbaled, but drivers could hit the road with a cool drink and not worry too much about spillage.
So, primitive….but trying.
It all went downhill, due to the accidental confluence between the State of Michigan, and Edward Shoemaker.
Ed Shoemaker made a fortune realizing people really like to sit.
The invention of what became the Command Post for the Man of House. As in, “Get out of your Father’s Chair” (and ironic tribute to armchair quarterbacking, sedentary life)..as cheekily delivered by none other than, Joe Namath!
All thanks due to Michigan farm boy and engineer Ed Shoemaker, who preferred tinkering with an idea of a reclining porch chair, to farming. Once Ed figured it out, he took his design to the owner of a furniture store —who suggested adding padding so the chair would be comfortable for indoor use.
In 1961 sales were just over a million and a half.
(Ed initially built novelty furniture. Ed’s, “The Gossiper” was a table for a phone —and a seat. In World War II Ed built seats and seat backs for armored cars, gun turrets, torpedo boats and tanks. After the war he went right back into private manufacturing.)
In 1970 Ed added (among his 30 patents) a built-in foot rest. Sales topped 50 million.
But remember – Michigan. Ed’s country. By now auto-manufactuers finally realized embedded cup holders were the cool way to go. Attention was paid to placement and design. Snazzy cup holders became important.
The beginning of the end.
And then automakers and furniture makers married and Voilá! Cup-holders became part of the furniture.
That’s right. There’s never a time one doesn’t have to be consuming a drink. Including while grocery shopping.
So now it’s complete. From shortly after birth,
to the car, to bed at night.
Oh yeah; and now, for — caskets!
Last, if you read this —please let me know if you went for walk afterward. 🙂
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