Get Your Car Ready for that Decoration Day Trip

I have been dealing in classic car parts for many years, but I recently found something I have never seen before: a vintage “car awning” that dates to the 1940s.

I have a pair of them, and they are in remarkably good condition for their age. They are made of blue “plastic-coated canvas” over a metal frame, and the brand “WEATHER MASTER” is marked on the inside of the canvas:

This advertisement from 1942 points out that the awnings will keep out both sun and rain:

It also indicates that occupants will still be able to move the windows up and down, and this is because the awnings attach to the door frame in the same manner that a peep mirror does:

Here are two more advertisements from 1947 and 1948 that showcase the car awnings next to other ways to keep cool, namely the Cool-O-Matic Car Cooler and steel Venetian blinds for the rear window. The bottom ad also points out that the awnings can be folded up when not in use.

My awnings do collapse to an easily stored size:

This 1942 advertisement recommends utilizing these user-friendly awnings to get your car ready for a Decoration Day trip.

Decoration Day originated after the Civil War and eventually became Memorial Day. Can’t you just picture a family using the awnings to keep the kids cool as they head out to the cemetery or a parade and picnic, complete with patriotic speeches?

Decoration Day was first observed on May 30, 1868, and James Garfield was the one giving a speech that day at Arlington Cemetery. If you have never read it, you should look it up because it is beautiful. This is the conclusion:

“Hither our children’s children shall come to pay their tribute of grateful homage. For this are we met to-day. By the happy suggestion of a great society, assemblies like this are gathering at this hour in every State in the Union. Thousands of soldiers are to-day turning aside in the march of life to visit the silent encampments of dead comrades who once fought by their side. From many thousand homes, whose light was put out when a soldier fell, there go forth to-day to join these solemn processions loving kindred and friends, from whose heart the shadow of grief will never be lifted till the light of the eternal world dawns upon them. And here are children, little children, to whom the war left no father but the Father above. By the most sacred right, theirs is the chief place to-day. They come with garlands to crown their victor fathers. I will delay the coronation no longer.”