The Surprisingly Scientific Origins of Your Car’s Air Freshener


It’s easy to overlook the things we see every day. How often do we stop and think about the decisions and thought processes that led to toothpaste, or duct tape, or those little tree-shaped air fresheners?

The history of Little Trees (their brand name) is indeed worth a second look. The car air fresheners have grown from their humble origins in Watertown, New York, to become a worldwide phenomenon. Known abroad as Magic Trees, Wunder-Baum, Boyut Promosyon, and Arbre Magique, the ubiquitous dangling trees have moved far beyond pine tree aromas. The trees were first patented in 1959. Today, the most popular fragrances are “Black Ice,” “Vanillaroma,” and “New Car Scent,” although “Royal Pine” is hanging in there. 

As the video from Great Big Story above shows, Little Trees can trace their roots to a grumbling milkman, a thoughtful chemist, and a whole lot of Canadian conifers.

Header image from YouTube // Great Big Story