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Object Timeline

  • We acquired this object.

-0001

1948

  • Work on this object began.

2014

2015

2019

  • You found it!

Telescope Shopping Cart Drawing On Letterhead (USA), November 1948

This is a Telescope Shopping Cart Drawing on Letterhead. It was made by Orla E. Watson. It is dated November 1948. Its medium is ink on paper.

The shopping cart is used worldwide. Although Orla Watson did not invent it, his improvements to this versatile tool are significant and a standard in the industry today. He introduced permanently attached hinged baskets, which allow the carts to nest for compact storage (US Patent 2,479,530) thus conserving valuable floor space. His invention debuted at Floyd Day’s Super Market, in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1947. Watson’s pencil sketches represent his process of solving such details as the dimensions of the basket. Here, the inventor was thinking visually and spatially. Today’s cart is bigger, made of different materials, such as plastic, and has a cup holder and a child’s seat, but the concept has changed little since 1947.

It is credited Telescoping Shopping Cart Collection, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, 2000.3030.

Its dimensions are

H x W (drawing): 27.9 x 21.6 cm (11 in. x 8 1/2 in.)

This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition Tools: Extending Our Reach.

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/51682547/ |title=Telescope Shopping Cart Drawing On Letterhead (USA), November 1948 |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=26 May 2019 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>