Early versions of windshield shades were made of cardboard.

The dashboard shade that keeps the intense summer sun from heating your steering wheel to untouchable temperatures was not a Tucson invention.

The idea was imported to the Sunbelt from Israel in the 1980s. It caught on quickly.

The early ones were the accordion-folded cardboard variety.


Some came with a reversible message to display in case of emergency, asking passing motorists to call police.

Too many people displayed that message carelessly, leading to a “boy cried wolf” scenario that rendered them ineffective.

Some had labels warning you not to operate your motor vehicle with the shade in place. As if.

They lower temperatures inside a parked car by a considerable amount. Claims vary, and it depends on a whole bunch of factors.

It’s enough to know that a sun-shaded steering wheel won’t burn your hands when you have to park your car in the midday sun in this land of vast, unshaded parking lots.

Recently, businesses have begun installing rows of photovoltaic panels atop parking structures, but shady spots are still few and far between.

Be careful out there: Do not leave pets, children, chocolate, gum or cellphones in your car.

Contact reporter Tom Beal at tbeal@azstarnet.com or 573-4158.