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What We Take For Granted on a Car...

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Topics:  Voisin
Opinions expressed by Bill Crittenden are not official policies or positions of The Crittenden Automotive Library. You can read more about the Library's goals, mission, policies, and operations on the About Us page.

What We Take For Granted on a Car...

Bill Crittenden
November 27, 2013

Lately a subject that comes up occasionally is that with the prevalence of electric windows on modern cars, children growing up today won't understand why we use the term, "roll down the window." What rolls?

This was brought up in my family recently when my son couldn't figure out how to get the window down on my dad's pickup truck. He couldn't find the button, of course!

Well, if you think that's kinda funny, check out this excerpt from a 1922 New York Times piece on the international Automobile Salon show and the Voisin's novel windows:

"In body designs, while all are beautiful in outward appearance with palatial interiors for the closed models, the French Voisin cars shown in America for the first time present, perhaps, the most novel characteristics. The Voisin is a new automobile for America. There are only eight or ten in use. The two on exhibition are fresh from the French factory, one being a town car and the other being a small sedan, the bodies being of French make. In the sedan the double plate glass windows on either side can be folded back and dropped into a panel within the door. The outward door closes over the dropped windows, holding them tightly so that there is no vibration, and the sedan is transformed into a typical open touring car, the top of which is collapsible. The same folding window system is applicable to the town car, where not only the side windows but a section of the windshield may be folded back or dropped into the door panel at will."

Yes, you just read an explanation of the novelty of windows that can be set up or down on a car. Double plate glass, no less!

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