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History of the Auto Dimmer Switch — 17 Comments

  1. I have had this question for some time and maybe you know. The term was always used in the area i lived, “tilt switch’. I have wondeered if there may have been a predecessor mechanical tilt mechanism before the ‘dimmer switch’? Do you know anything about this?

  2. I desperately wish it would change back from being on the steering column to the floorboard. I mean, really, how much space does anyone really need on the floorboard? Every car I’e had since they changed to the steering column has had room for dimmer switch on floorboard right above place where my left foot just sits there with nothing to do when it could happily be clicking the dimmer on then off then on then off etc. I bet if a survey were done the majority of people would say they prefer the dimmer on the floorboard. Or, better yet, if car manufactueers simply started putting dimmer on the floirboard again, I bet people would be thrilled! I even think a lot of people don’t utilize their bright lights as much because it is such a pain to deal with on the steering column! Half the time you turn blinker or wipers on when trying to get the lights on bright so people just never change from regular to bright. I also wonder if car mqnufacturers should consider making it impossible to turn emergency flashers on when vehicle is moving – clearly many people aren’t grasping the idea that you DO NOT turn your emergency flashers on when it is raining hard or foggy! How do they think that helps? It is a common occurrence here in Nashville and it drives me wild – they may not bother to turn their headlights on but they are quick to turn the emergency flashers on! Good thing I’m not a cop – that is an offense I would get my police dog to bite people for! lol I enjoyed your article and did not know the dimmer switch was originally on the floorboard or why it was ever switched. Thanks!

  3. I moved to England in 1988 and came back in 2005. One night I was driving my mom’s mini van and she told me to put the brights on. I hunted all over the floor with my left foot, and finally asked, “Where is it?”
    She asked, “Where is what?”
    “The dimmer switch.”
    “It’s up where the blinkers are.”
    “Really?! Why?”
    I think it’s annoying there because I sometimes accidentally turn on a blinker when I turn the brights on or off. I hate it there. It was better on the floor.

  4. Bob, just for the archives… Chrysler moved this switch back to the classical floor location on their 1979 New Yorker 5th Avenue Edition. it looked just as it did originally. It was however not used to change hi/low headlight beams, it was used to change radio channels (dimmer switch was integral to the steering column mounted turn signal). I had one and it was a lot of fun goofing on passengers. When a passenger change the to their preferred station, I would switch it back and play dumb as not knowing how this was happening. The of course would watch me but no one ever figured it out! They assumed my left foot was just sitting on the floor (never thought there was a switch under my foot).

  5. While it’s not distracting in general, I still think it’s harder to dim your lights quickly by hand than by tapping your foot. My hands are usually busy with other functions when I need to dim my lights for an oncoming car, and I’d prefer to use my (mostly unoccupied, even in a standard-shift car) left foot to dim the lights than have to move my left hand to the stalk.

  6. I liked having the dimmer switch on the floor a LOT better than on the steering column. I also miss those little triangle windows that you could open: They were located on the drivers and the front passenger’s windows. All the Best! DE W8LV BILL

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