A Brief History of Auto Detailing for Those Interested in Auto Detailing Training

auto detailing career

Detailing isn’t just about car fanatics obsessively polishing and buffing so they can fall in love with their cars all over again. Way beyond that, the process of cleaning and restoring a vehicle to bring it as close to showroom condition as possible is important for increasing a car’s retail value.

The importance of detailing in the auto industry today is no joke; recent stats reveal that in Canada, auto detailing is expected to generate a cool $933.2m in revenue. That’s a lot of buffing!

So how did detailing leap from a necessary way to protect cars to a booming industry? Let’s take a quick look at the history of the auto job that keeps cars looking their best!

From Animal Fat to Modern Waxes 

The first recorded example of detailing stretches all the way back to 1800 in Germany, when people started coating their horse carriages with animal fats to protect the paint. This first type of wax went out of vogue pretty fast, stinking up the neighborhood and attracting flies for miles! 

Undeterred, the earliest auto detailers would go on to experiment more successfully with the first plant-based waxes.

As the first production cars began to evolve in the late 1800’s, polishes and waxes continued to evolve over the next century, with Menzerna developing a variety of polishing compounds first used on vehicles in 1888, and the American Frank Meguiar Jr. beginning to use his furniture polishing products to coat car exteriors in 1901. Both Menzerna and Meguiars continue to be huge hitters in today’s detailing industry.

The ‘Drop off and Pick up Later’ Garages Emerge

The practice of dropping cars off for a wax began in San Diego, where garages began charging to coat car finishes with a carnauba wax product. Developed by George Simons in 1910, two years later “Simons paste wax” would evolve into Simoniz which continues to live on today as a popular American car care brand. In fact, it might even be a brand you encounter after your auto detailing course as you start your career!

Waxes and Tooling You Should Know About as a Student in Auto Detailing Training

Detailing entered a new era in 1969 with the introduction of the first commercially available polymer sealant. With this synthetic wax, carmakers could now wax and treat vehicles before selling them onto customers. 

Students and graduates of auto detailing training know how important the right tool can be. Some notable tools were developed around this time, which helped take auto detailing to a whole new level. One such tool is the dual orbit machine polisher from Rupes, an Italy-based company that launched back in 1947. Rupes released a range of Bigfoot dual action machine polishers that revolutionized paint-correcting in the industry. Paint correcting got even better in the 70’s with the introduction of a twin head orbital action polisher from Cyclo U.S.A, a product designed originally for the aircraft industry.

auto detailing course
Polishing with the right product is an essential part of detailing

Into the 21st Century

With detailing clay and microfibres improving things from the ’70s through the ’90s, the most notable innovation to the industry since 2000 is ceramic coating, first released by Gtechniq in 2007. Developed by the company’s quantum physicist founder, this type of coating would prove to be a game-changing industry product, offering car owners tougher, more durable protection than ever. 

auto detailing training
Long-lasting paint coating revolutionized the detailing industry

The product continues to get better and better, with Gtechniq already offering a 9-year ceramic paint coating version!

Detailing sure has come a long way from its origins, going from animal fat waxes and paints that peeled off in days to modern 9-year ceramic paint coating products and highly innovative polishing machinery. The pride that auto pros and fans have for their cars means the detailing industry could keep innovating for a long time to come.

Think you have what it takes to start an exciting auto detailing career

Contact Automotive Training Centres for more information!

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