Why do they make glove boxes out of pressed cardboard?

My classic Ford truck, no matter how rough the ride quality, it has a really robust design. Every aspect seems to be designed to be super-strong. Except the glove box, which believe it or not is made out of pressed cardboard. Is there some motivation Ford would have for this? It seems incongruous to the rest of the vehicle.

I guess because it’s cheap. Plus, if you made it out of steel like the rest of your dash, all your glovebox junk would rattle around. Cause nobody puts just gloves in there. I suppose they didn’t have the plastics back then that they have today, either. My 79 Jeep had the cardboard box too. I replaced it with an aftermarket plastic one, but the plastic one was made 20 years after the Jeep was produced.

My thoughts anyway. I’m not a plastics expert, but I’m trying to think of molded plastic on cars from the 70’s and I can’t think of much of anything that wasn’t really brittle and “blocky” in design back then.

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That makes some sense in the way of motivation, but it seems like Ford could have accomplished the same thing with a metal or plastic glove box lined with felt or something similar. I’m just curious about it is all, I mean given how tough the rest of the truck is, why make the glove box out of the same material used for egg cartons? The glove box contains the truck’s t fuse panel, and the fuse panel attachment method is two pieces of metal which squeeze the cardboard. Doesn’t that seem an unusual design for a way to hold a fuse panel in place? … lol …

Hey, you need a box, cardboard is the first thing that comes to mind!

Agreed, it’s kind of cheapy. Seems they could’ve come up with something better. That cardboard glovebox in an open top Jeep didn’t fare well. I think the one in my dad’s 1950 Chevy truck is cardboard too, but I may remember incorrectly. Pretty much everything else is steel besides the tires and windows!

I don’t recall the glove box construction material for my Corolla, but I expect it is plastic of some sort. I suppose one benefit of cardboard, you can squeeze it to fit through the hole during installation. If it were made of a stiffer material it might be difficult to get it in place.

I guess back then they were suppose to be used just for driving gloves storage. not like today. I Guess they just thought they really did not need anything stronger.

Yeah, that a possibility. The glove box was last on the list of things needing designing, sort of an afterthought to get the vehicles out the door and onto the shipping dock.

Another idea, since it holds the fuse panel, they wanted to use something non-conductive.

I might be wrong but if I remember right was the sun visors of the same era made of the same material and some were covered and some were not covered?

The truck’s sun-visors seems to made of similar materials as the Corolla and other vehicles I’ve owned, plastic naugahyde covering a sort of thin hardboard layered w/ some softening material, and some metal stiffening rods. It’s not the same as the egg carton material used in the glove box, it has to be quite a bit stiffer.

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I suppose the same reason door panels are cardboard. Cheaper, lighter, good for 20 years. Actually I couldn’t tell you which of mine were plastic or cardboard. Just something I never noticed.

I wonder if anyone’s actually used driving gloves in a 1979 4wd Ford truck? I’m picturing George carving some San Jose canyons in that beast :joy:

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They were all made of cardboard for years. Just an old habit.

Has it failed?

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That’s the right question. Has it failed? I’ve owned some real junk over the past 55 years, many of my vehicles went from me to the boneyard. NONE had a failed cardboard glove compartment - and none ever held gloves, either. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

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A steel glove box door on a 1969 El Camino was caved in 6 inches by my right knee when a guy ran a red light. There was a good and a bad side to that incident. Cardboard would have been a bit less painful…

Bad was it tore up my right knee 9 hours before my Army physical and led to major surgery followed by 2 weeks in the hospital.
Good was the Army decided I wasn’t a candidate for marching in the jungles of Viet Nam…

I also recall the kick panels on cars of the '50s & '60s being made of cardboard, and they were not very durable. After 5 years of wet feet coming into contact with them, they tended to look very bad,

Going back even further my 1952 has a flocked cardboard glove box and the interior panels are thin plywood covered with vinyl.

Probably a cheap alternative but in their defense, after 70 years they’re still holding up.

Heck, my 1971 Ford Maverick didn’t even have a glove box. There was just a package tray at the bottom of the dashboard. I did buy a sliding door kit from J.C. Whitney so I could keep things from falling out.

Fiberboard is not quite the same as the cardboard that boxes are made of.
Many varieties.
These days Fram calls it engineered board, used in their low-end oil filters.
It’s light, cheap, and more bio-degradable than plastic.

Yes, it failed, but only recently. Can’t really complain as the egg carton material design lasted nearly 50 years. It had actually failed years prior I expect, but left undisturbed it still held stuff & remained looking ok. I had to investigate a rain leak in that area recently so I had to remove the glove box, which caused it to crumble.