Telescoping Shopping Cart

The convenience and carrying capacity of shopping carts play an important role in the sales of a self-service supermarket. Inventor of the earliest model of the shopping cart, Sylvan Goldman of Oklahoma City, described his idea in 1939 as a "combination of basket and carriage." The frame he devised held two baskets and was like a folding chair with wheels. In 1946, Orla E. Watson of Kansas City, developed these telescoping shopping carts that were "always ready" and required no assembly or disassembly of components before or after use.
Watson's telescoping feature allowed carts to nestle into other carts for compact storage. Each additional parked cart, claimed the brochure, required "only one-fifth as much space as an ordinary cart," which meant more carts for shoppers as well as more retail space for store owners.
Object Name
shopping cart
date made
ca 1949
Telescope Carts, Inc.
Physical Description
metal (overall material)
overall: 94 cm x 39.5 cm x 60 cm; 37 in x 15 9/16 in x 23 5/8 in
place made
United States: Missouri, Kansas City
ID Number
accession number
patent number
catalog number
Family & Social Life
FOOD: Transforming the American Table 1950-2000
See more items in
Work and Industry: Retail and Marketing
FOOD: Transforming the American Table 1950-2000
Food: Transforming the American Table 1950-2000
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

Visitor Comments

Add a comment about this object

**Please read before submitting the form**

Have a comment or question about this object to share with the community? Please use the form below. Selected comments will appear on this page and may receive a museum response (but we can't promise). Please note that we generally cannot answer questions about the history, rarity, or value of your personal artifacts.

Have a question about anything else, or would you prefer a personal response? Please visit our FAQ or contact page.

Personal information will not be shared or result in unsolicited e-mail. See our privacy policy.

Enter the characters shown in the image.