This morning I bought a neat old tin at a community garage sale in the neighborhood. I wasn't looking for anything in particular, but this old metal can caught my attention. Why you might ask? Because there was a picture of a car on it! Yes, I know, I'm pretty predictable, but I really like the look of beat up old tins like this, and the fact that it used to house a car-cleaning product made it all the more interesting.
For the reasonable sum of 4 euros I am the proud owner of the little red 'Coppac Paris' brand 'Sog' tin. It was a product for car cleaning and polishing. 'Ouate' translates to 'wadding', which is nothing more than a soft cotton polishing cloth. The tin was most likely filled with a polishing paste and came with the cloth. According to the advertisements on the container, it worked on chrome, nickel, aluminum and paint. It would clean, polish and shine, all this with the guarantee of an acid-free formulation.
I thought that it made a neat little decoration for my tool-bench, but it also got me thinking about something else. While car-care products still do exist, and some people of course do take good care of their cars, I get the feeling that it's not the same as back in the day when this product was sold.
For most people today a car is a tool to get from place to place. A car used to be something to aspire to, to dream about; nowadays, car ownership is at the reach of many many people, and I don't think that we take the same enjoyment in maintaining our vehicles as people did decades ago. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Not everyone has the time or energy or desire to spend hours in their garage washing and scrubbing and polishing and waxing their car, nor should they. But there certainly was an era where having a bright and shiny car was a source of pride.
I certainly won't show you any pictures of my car as it sits today, it hasn't been washed in ages. It could really use a good work-over with some 'Sog Ouate Eclair'! I probably should have tried to find a tin that wasn't empty...