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Sound and SafeA History of Listening Behind the Wheel$
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Karin Bijsterveld, Eefje Cleophas, Stefan Krebs, and Gijs Mom

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199925698

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199925698.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 18 November 2019

“It Shuts with a Comforting Sound”

“It Shuts with a Comforting Sound”

Closing the Car Body

(p.21) Chapter 2 “It Shuts with a Comforting Sound”
Sound and Safe

Karin Bijsterveld

Eefje Cleophas

Stefan Krebs

Gijs Mom

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses how the transition of the automobile from an open coach to a closed sedan, in the 1920s, did not immediately make it a more quiet place, as one might expect. On the contrary, the closed car came with rattling roofs and reverberating panels. Yet the rise of new ideals of silence—mechanical, convenient and aristocratic silence—inspired automotive engineers to control noise and marketing people to sell quiet interior car acoustics to the masses. While mechanical silence signified engineering quality and automotive reliability, the ideal of convenient silence was about long-distance touring without suffering noise-induced fatigue, and aristocratic silence about the social standing expressed by a prudently approaching car. The closed car, with its misted windows and surrounding metal, threatened the dream of the cinematic drive, of smoothly “flying” across the country. It was the reduction of noise and vibration, however, that saved thisdream.

Keywords:   Open Coach, Closed Sedan, Mechanical Silence, Convenient Silence, Aristocratic Silence, Cinematic Drive

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