Large Capacity Shopping Cart

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This cart was used by shoppers at the Costco Wholesale warehouse store in Arlington, Virginia. Although its shape is typical of carts used since the end of the 1940s, it is designed with a deep and wide basket with a sturdy lower rack for carrying oversized-sized and bulk packaged goods.
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.
Since their inception in the 1950s, warehouse stores represented a new, highly efficient model for distributing food and other goods to consumers at reduced prices. For shoppers, warehouse stores offered a radical alternative to the meticulously arranged supermarkets that had become so popular with the rise of suburbs in the postwar period.
date made
ca 2011
Physical Description
metal (overall material)
plastic (wheels and trim material)
overall: 44 in x 30 in x 46 in; 111.76 cm x 76.2 cm x 116.84 cm
part: wheel: 5 in; 12.7 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Gift of Costco Wholesale
See more items in
Work and Industry: Retail and Marketing
FOOD: Transforming the American Table 1950-2000
Food: Transforming the American Table 1950-2000
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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