Ah, the sweet smell of …

Although we’ve never actually owned a car that possessed that much sought after “new car smell” (perhaps because we’ve never owned a new car?), we are intrigued by those air fresheners for your car that hang from so many rear view mirrors.

In fact, once quite by accident, we left one in the middle of a stack of CDs, and when we discovered it later, the car-freshener thingie had eaten right through the plastic CD jewel case. What the hell are those things made of, anyway?

Anyway, you can bet that we’ll be spending some time this summer at the Saratoga Automobile Museum, where a brand new exhibit opened on Saturday – “The History of Little Trees” – devoted to car-fresheners.

“The Saratoga Automobile Museum is thrilled with this opportunity to celebrate Little Trees, an automotive icon manufactured in New York State,” says Alan Edstrom, director of programs and events at the museum. “Car models may come and go, but for over 50 years, Little Trees have held a rock steady place in pop culture, becoming part of automotive history.”

It’s probably no mere coincidence that the museum celebrating the sweet-smelling history of the pine tree-shaped fresheners is located on the Avenue of the Pines in Saratoga State Park next to the Saratoga Performing Arts Center.

The exhibit will run through November.


  • The original pine-scented Little Tree car-freshener was invented by the chemist Julius Samann in Watertown, NY, in 1952.
  • The Car Freshener Corporation is still headquartered in Watertown, with additional manufacturing plants in Berlin, New Hampshire and DeWitt, Iowa.
  • It addition to the original pine-scent, Little Tree fresheners are now available in more than 50 different aromas – including banana nut, blackberry clove, ocean mist, papaya and sparkling cranberry.

Comments are closed.