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What is this?

Free-standing rotary card file supported by single tubular metal element, bent to form U-shaped foot, with ends rising to terminate at opposite black plastic terminal knobs. Foot with four gray rubber cuffs.

Why is this important?

Composed of a curved tubular metal stand, a plastic wheel, and cards, this file for storing names, addresses, and phone numbers is an artifact of the pre-digital office. Turning the wheel flips the cards, creating multiple planes. Some electronic versions are designed to evoke the tactile qualities of the rotating wheel.

This is a open rotary card file from United States. It is dated 1950 and we acquired it in 1996. Gift of Rolodex Corporation.

This image is on display This object is currently on display in room 206.

Its medium is

bent tubular metal, molded plastic, rubber, paper

Its dimensions are

H x W x D: 18 x 18 x 16.5 cm (7 1/16 x 7 1/16 x 6 1/2 in.)

It has the following markings

Molded in terminal plastic knobs: "ROLODEX®" printed label/decal on foot: "ROLODEX® Model 5024X/Rolodex Corporation/Secaucus, NJ 07094-2196" red card w/white type: "ONLY ROLODEX® HAS ALL THESE ESSENTIAL FEATURES! 1. Automatic ball-bearing tension control. Hear the click-click as you turn the knob? That's the Rolomatic™ ball-bearing mechanism at work holding the card in balance wherever you stop. And it's fully automatic! [verso - black type on white ground] 2. PLASTIC GUIDES. Non-destructible, scuff-proof; can't get dog-eared. 3. GUIDE HEADINGS. Printed both sides so you can rotate file in either direction. Take the shortest route to your card. 4. INTERCHANGEABLE. Want special headings? Slip tab out and set up your own on reverse side of tab. ONLY ROLODEX® HAS ALL THESE ESSENTIAL FEATURES!"

We have 1 video that features Rolodex Open Rotary Card File, 1950.

Collections in Motion: Rolodexes

Six Rolodexes from the Cooper Hewitt collection being shown in motion.

This object was manufactured by Rolodex Corporation

This object was donated by Rolodex Corporation

The Conservation department has taken one photo of this object.

This object has been included in the following exhibitions:

See more stuff from the Product Design and Decorative Arts department.

Do you have your own photos of this object? Are they online somewhere, like Flickr or Instagram? Or have you created a 3D model of one of our objects in SketchUp or Thingiverse? If so then then tag them with ch:object=18653089 and we will connect ours to yours!

If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18653089/ |title=Rolodex Open Rotary Card File, 1950 |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=5 March 2015 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>

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