why do they call a glove box a jockey box

why do they call a glove box a jockey box

The term “glove box” is commonly used to refer to a compartment in a car’s dashboard. However, it is interesting to note that in certain regions, this compartment is referred to as a “jockey box.” This article aims to explore the origins and reasons behind the use of these different terms.

Historical Background

The term “glove box” dates back to the early 20th century when cars were becoming more common. During this time, driving gloves were popular among motorists to provide a better grip on the steering wheel and protect their hands from dirt and cold weather. The glove box compartment was specifically designed to store these gloves conveniently.

On the other hand, the term “jockey box” has a different origin. It is believed to have originated in the western United States during the mid-20th century. In these regions, cowboys and ranchers commonly used their vehicles for transportation, and the compartment in the dashboard was used to store various items related to horse riding, including jockey hats, whips, and small tools.


Regardless of the name, the primary purpose of this compartment remains the same. It serves as a storage space for various items that a driver may need while on the road. This can include important documents such as vehicle registration and insurance papers, maps, sunglasses, small tools, and even personal belongings like wallets or mobile phones.

Regional Differences

why do they call a glove box a jockey box

The use of different terms for the same compartment can be attributed to regional variations in language and cultural influences. In some regions, the term “jockey box” may have persisted due to the historical association with horse riding and the cowboy culture. In other areas, the term “glove box” may have become more popular due to the prevalence of driving gloves and the association with the early automotive industry.

Evolution of Usage

Over time, the functionality of the glove box/jockey box has evolved. With advancements in technology, modern vehicles now often include features such as air conditioning vents, audio controls, and even airbags within the compartment. This has led to a shift in the usage of the compartment, with less emphasis on storing gloves or horse riding accessories and more focus on convenience and accessibility for the driver and passengers.

Alternative Names

Aside from “glove box” and “jockey box,” there are other names used to refer to this compartment. In some parts of the United States, it is called a “dashboard compartment” or simply a “dash box.” In other countries, it may be referred to as a “glove compartment” or a “cubbyhole.” These alternative names further highlight the regional and cultural differences in terminology.

Common Features

Despite the different names, glove boxes and jockey boxes share common features. They are typically located on the passenger side of the dashboard, within easy reach of the driver and front-seat passenger. The compartments are usually lockable and have a hinged or sliding door for easy access. The interiors are lined with soft material to protect the stored items from damage or scratches.

Future Trends

As technology continues to advance, the functionality of the glove box/jockey box may further evolve. With the rise of electric vehicles, we may see integrated charging ports within the compartment to accommodate portable electronic devices. Additionally, the increasing connectivity of vehicles may lead to the inclusion of wireless charging pads or even smart features such as voice-controlled access to the compartment.


In conclusion, the terms “glove box” and “jockey box” are both used to refer to the same compartment in a car’s dashboard. The different names can be attributed to historical, regional, and cultural factors. Regardless of the name, this compartment serves as a versatile storage space for drivers to keep essential items within easy reach while on the road.

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