Throwback Thursday: Clean Your Car, “The Chicago Way”

Car Wash Bowl 1920 Geoffrey Baer

– photo courtesy of

This is a post I did a few years ago; I hope you enjoy it!

I am utterly impressed by the ingenuity of the, “Auto Wash Bowl” in the picture above.  And what a wash bowl it was!  First appearing in St. Paul, Minnesota, the bowl soon became a hit on the Chicago car circuit (circa 1924).

Chicago’s answer to bathtubs for big cars arrived in the form of a large basin-shaped construction.  At a reasonable price of just 25 cents, an attendant would place a cover over the car’s radiator to protect it from the car cleansing!  Car owners would then drive ‘into’ the bowl, complete several circular laps while the ridged concrete of the bowl removed some of the mud and dirt from the vehicle’s undercarriage.

Now Henry


– photo courtesy of

Interesting the car in the above newspaper ad is referred to as, “Henry”, don’t you think? Ah, Mr. Henry Ford, methinks you’ve had more than your fair share of motorized monikers!

A resounding, “Everybody out of the pool” was heard (just kidding; but it would be rather funny, don’t you think?).  For those who needed the deluxe cleaning, a quick drive out of the bowl and into a service bay was in order, where an attendant would take over to, ‘finish the job’ (I did say it was the, “Chicago Way” now, didn’t I?).  *grin*

For those who wanted to jump in with both feet (and car), you, yes YOU could own your very own automatic, automobile bathing bowl:

Wash Bowl Chicago

– photo courtesy of

Ah, Saturdays at the ‘ol Auto Wash Bowl; good, clean, car fun!

  15 comments for “Throwback Thursday: Clean Your Car, “The Chicago Way”

  1. February 8, 2018 at 8:33 am

    what possible problems could there be with this concept?

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 8, 2018 at 8:35 am

      I can’t think of a single one Anthony, can you? *grin* Cher xo


  2. Annie Van Es
    February 8, 2018 at 10:59 am

    This is very funny. I have never seen this. It seems me, the water does not go over the upper side of the car. A nice weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 8, 2018 at 2:20 pm

      Hi Annie! It is funny, isn’t it? No, you are right! I don’t know how the cars got completely clean! Thank you, I hope you have a nice weekend, too! Cher xo


  3. February 8, 2018 at 2:21 pm

    I remember that post very well… as soon as I saw the first photo!

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 8, 2018 at 2:23 pm

      LOL Well I thought everyone could use some laughs, so I decided to ‘clean it’, and bring it out of the ‘wash’ to post again! Hahahaha Cher xo

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Lana
    February 8, 2018 at 2:29 pm

    How funny! Surely that would wreck an engine. Water collates to that level in my village in the ford sometimes and cars usually (but not always) about turn in horror at possible damage.

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 8, 2018 at 2:35 pm

      Oh dear! I can only imagine what that would do to an engine, Lana! I am wondering if (and definitely this will show my lack of car knowledge!) due to the lack of complexity ‘back then’ resulted in very little damage? I’m not sure, but it certainly does look funny, doesn’t it? Cher xo


      • Lana
        February 8, 2018 at 2:38 pm

        Maybe as the cars went along so slowly in those days, they would not notice a flagging engine too much?!

        Liked by 1 person

      • February 8, 2018 at 2:40 pm

        Now that is a good theory, Lana!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. February 9, 2018 at 4:05 pm

    I remember this wonderful post – good to revisit.

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 9, 2018 at 4:21 pm

      Why thanks so much, Hilary! I find unusual, historical inventions to be quite amusing at times! Cher xo


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