The first cars to grace the unpaved roads in the late 19th century had steering wheels that were made out of wood or uncovered metal. These cars often had open tops or were poorly insulated nor did they have heating or cooling.
You can imagine that under these circumstances a drivers hands could get cold on long winter drives or hot and sweaty during the summer time. Gloves were a popular accessory for horse riders at this time, who wore leather driving gloves as protection against calluses when holding reins.
It not a huge leap to conclude that when people switch from horse powered vehicles to motor powered vehicles they chose to keep their trusty riding gloves. And so the modern day driving gloves were born.
The glove box
The earliest cars had specially designed glove boxes or “glove compartments”. Now we may keep all kinds of things in the glove box, not just or perhaps not ever driving gloves. Yet the name remains because usage became so common, and also perhaps in homage to an era when such gloves made a great deal of practical sense.
Driving gloves today
Steering wheels in modern cars have evolved quite a bit since their 19th century predictors. They have been designed to be more comfortable and have finger grooves that prevent slipping. This has reduced the wide spread need for driving gloves. Driving gloves are often used by racing car drivers.
There are driving gloves available with build in heating elements for people who suffer from arthritis. This can significantly improve the comfort of their driving experience especially if they have to drive for long distances.
Whilst in the past driving gloves were only available in leather now a day’s these useful and dapper accessories are available in many different fabrics and colors.