Earlier this past summer, a very close friend of mine mentioned to me that a guy he knew had a box full of flat glass patterns for older cars. After a little banter back and forth, he asked me if I would have any interest in it. Of course I expressed my interest, and then the memory of it kind of faded away.
As I’m always busy juggling many different things, I had pretty much forgotten about the mysterious box until maybe a month later. This time the conversation was more specific. If I was really interested, then the box would probably be for sale. The guy needed to get it down to a place where it would be accessible and then he’d let me know when I could see it. Fantastic, one step closer I thought. Still, another week or two passed before the call finally came, and I arranged to meet a friend of a friend at a warehouse on the opposite side of town to see the box. Finally…… The Box.
I had no idea what to expect, and to say I was surprised would be a huge understatement.
I walked in, and after some short introductions was shown a rather large wooden box. No surprise there. But the events that took place over the next few minutes completely shocked me. The owner of the box systematically walked me through the process of using this box and its contents for its intended purpose.
First of all, you have to understand that from the time they began building vehicles, until later in the 50’s or 60’s almost all of the glass was cut from flat panels. The exception would be some windshields and back windows, or a few corner windows, but if you think about it….. the vast majority of the glass was flat.
Over the next few minutes, I tried to wrap my brain around the realization that this box might actually contain what was purported to be most of the glass patterns for all the different makes and models of American made vehicles up to 1959. I honestly think I went into a temporary state of paralysis, just staring wide-eyed at the box with my mouth hanging open.
I snapped out of my trance and calmly listened as he explained the functions of the different parts of this box. I was shown books listing what could very well be every popular American made vehicle beginning in the late 1920s. You begin by looking up the year, make and model of your vehicle. You can then find the exact glass pattern you need. For example, you might have a 1934 Federal truck with a sleeper cab, (wouldn’t that be awesome), and you need a new windshield. You look up the truck and then find the corresponding pattern number for the glass you need. Now it’s time to use the box.
The box is stocked with what I would call scrolls. The main, original scroll is large and covers all vehicles from the beginning of time to about 1952. As you roll the scroll across the box, from one side to the other, you can see thousands of overlapping patterns that have numbers that correspond to the numbers in the book.
There are about 3,000 patterns on the first scroll, and then we have other yearly supplement scrolls that can be fed into the box. These additional scrolls cover a year at a time and we have them through 1959.
After you find the pattern that corresponds to the number you need, you can just trace it onto the glass and like magic, you can cut a piece of glass that should fit your older car or truck. The key to this box and the books that go with it are the notes. There are notes in the books, and notes on the patterns which make slight adjustments to the size and shape of some pieces. There is no way anyone could ever put a value on these notes that were created over time from real life experience. How cool is this?
I think this is an extraordinary find and will be very useful to us for many years to come.
As always, our ultimate goal is to get all these great cars and trucks back on the road. We plan to use our Simpl-Filer box to supply glass patterns to customers who need new glass cut for their restoration projects. Please understand that there are a few instances where the book shows that some patterns are unavailable, and we have found a gap in numbers through the war years. But overall, we still have about 4,000 patterns and that should help us get new glass for most of the pre-1959 vehicles out there.
Should you need some, or any have questions, just give us a call.