Thursday, May 14

radiator water bag

Not being a vintage car buff, or from the west coast/desert states, I had not heard of or seen these until yesterday.... but radiator water bags were soaked then filled with water (surprise) and hung over the radiator cap or emblem as cars travelled during hot times of the day or year... by evaporation the bag would cool, cooling the radiator, bonus, you then had extra water to top up the radiator if needed. If there is more to it, someone please share. Anyway, some cool western imagery and text. (Bit of a softball post to all the vintage canvas freaks out there... you know who you are. In point of fact these bags were often made from flax, imported from Scotland.)

Above photo from maureenbond via flickr, all others for sale on ebay, in the $20's.


Anonymous said...

They also provided ice cold water to drink. You soaked the canvas first otherwise the water would just run through the fabric.

Anonymous said...

Hi there mate. Im from Western Australia. I use up to two of these bags on the front of my old Landrover 4x4. I still carry 3 fridges in the back but these are handy to carry that radiator water for a top up if needed or just spare drinking water. They are realy quite handy item in the outback. I think because of car fridges they have gone out of popularity?
The only problem with them is hitting wild life sort of destroys them and getting them staked when doing hard off road work as this has happen to me. If anyone is still using them I got a tip on how to remove the canvas tast out of them. Just boil the bag in some water for a few min then let cool. Wash it a few times in cool clean water and should be realy nice after that.


Anonymous said...

As always, James, you're on top of things. I bought one of these at Brimfield, not totally being sure what it was- when i finally got around to googling it, guess who's blog comes up... one of my favorites. Enjoy this gorgeous weekend!
Brian buell

Locostevie said...

Ok, y'all...they are called a radiator bag because they were hung there, most times, until radiators were no longer exposed. We hung them from mirrors, bed stakes, gas tank spouts, whatever we could find. This was the main way to cool water, during the summer. It required no ice. We would even hang them from a tree branch, or a stick in the ground, while working in the fields. It obviously cooled by evaporation, and one saw them extensively in the southwest, when I was growing up, in the '50's, and '60's. I wish I could find some newly manufactured ones, now.