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Shopping Carts Are Way More Dangerous Than You Might Expect

Creator:
Smithsonian Magazine  Search this
Type:
Blog posts
Smithsonian staff publications
Blog posts
Published Date:
Tue, 04 Feb 2014 18:20:56 +0000
Topic:
Search this
See more post:
Smithsonian Article Database
Data Source:
Smithsonian Magazine
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:posts_100ee313e22b775ced52718c84181d41

Telescoping Shopping Cart

Maker:
Telescope Carts, Inc.  Search this
Physical Description:
metal (overall material)
Measurements:
overall: 94 cm x 39.5 cm x 60 cm; 37 in x 15 9/16 in x 23 5/8 in
overall: 49 in x 89 in x 28 in; 124.46 cm x 226.06 cm x 71.12 cm
Object Name:
shopping cart
Place made:
United States: Missouri, Kansas City
Date made:
ca 1949
ID Number:
2000.0166.01
Accession number:
2000.0166
Patent number:
2479530
Catalog number:
2000.0166.01
See more items in:
Work and Industry: Retail and Marketing
Food
FOOD: Transforming the American Table 1950-2000
Family & Social Life
Exhibition:
Food: Transforming the American Table 1950-2000
Exhibition Location:
National Museum of American History
Data Source:
National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:nmah_1194184

Telescoping Shopping Cart

Maker:
Telescope Carts, Inc.  Search this
Physical Description:
metal (overall material)
Measurements:
overall: 94 cm x 39.5 cm x 60 cm; 37 in x 15 9/16 in x 23 5/8 in
overall: 49 in x 89 in x 28 in; 124.46 cm x 226.06 cm x 71.12 cm
Object Name:
shopping cart
Place made:
United States: Missouri, Kansas City
Date made:
ca 1949
ID Number:
2000.0166.02
Accession number:
2000.0166
Patent number:
2479530
Catalog number:
2000.0166.02
See more items in:
Work and Industry: Retail and Marketing
Food
FOOD: Transforming the American Table 1950-2000
Family & Social Life
Exhibition:
Food: Transforming the American Table 1950-2000
Exhibition Location:
National Museum of American History
Data Source:
National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:nmah_1194185

Phyllis Diller’s Gag File

Manufacturer:
Art Steel Company, Inc.  Search this
Maker:
Diller, Phyllis  Search this
Art Steel Company, Inc.  Search this
Physical Description:
steel (overall material)
paper (overall material)
ink (overall material)
adhesive (overall material)
Measurements:
overall: 48 in x 40 in x 17 1/4 in; 121.92 cm x 101.6 cm x 43.815 cm
Object Name:
file
Place made:
United States: New York, New York City
Date made:
ca 1962 - 1994
Subject:
Humor  Search this
Comedians  Search this
Credit Line:
Gift of Phyllis Diller
ID Number:
2003.0289.01.01
Accession number:
2003.0289
Catalog number:
2003.0289.01.01
See more items in:
Cultural and Community Life: Entertainment
Popular Entertainment
Phyllis Diller
Data Source:
National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:nmah_1218385
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  • View Phyllis Diller’s Gag File digital asset number 9

Phyllis Diller’s Gag File Expansion

Cartoonist:
Hoest, Bill  Search this
Manufacturer:
Art Steel Company, Inc.  Search this
Maker:
Diller, Phyllis  Search this
Art Steel Company, Inc.  Search this
Physical Description:
steel (overall material)
paper (overall material)
ink (overall material)
adhesive (overall material)
Measurements:
overall: 5 1/8 in x 18 1/2 in x 16 1/8 in; 13.0175 cm x 46.99 cm x 40.9575 cm
Object Name:
file
Place made:
United States: New York, New York City
Date made:
ca 1962 - 1994
Subject:
Humor  Search this
Comics  Search this
Comedians  Search this
Credit Line:
Gift of Phyllis Diller
ID Number:
2003.0289.01.02
Accession number:
2003.0289
Catalog number:
2003.0289.01.02
See more items in:
Cultural and Community Life: Entertainment
Popular Entertainment
Phyllis Diller
Data Source:
National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:nmah_1218386
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Additional Online Media:

Large Capacity Shopping Cart

Physical Description:
metal (overall material)
plastic (wheels and trim material)
Measurements:
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
Object Name:
shopping cart
Date made:
ca 2011
Credit Line:
Gift of Costco Wholesale
ID Number:
2011.0233.01
Accession number:
2011.0233
Catalog number:
2011.0233.01
See more items in:
Work and Industry: Retail and Marketing
Food
FOOD: Transforming the American Table 1950-2000
Exhibition:
Food: Transforming the American Table 1950-2000
Exhibition Location:
National Museum of American History
Data Source:
National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:nmah_1411535
Additional Online Media:

Shopping Cart, Norwalk, Connecticut

Artist:
Larry Silver, born New York City 1934  Search this
Medium:
gelatin silver print
Dimensions:
16 x 20 in.
Type:
Photography-Photoprint
Date:
2001
Topic:
Architecture\vehicle\cart  Search this
Architecture Exterior\other\parking lot  Search this
Landscape\Connecticut\Norwalk  Search this
Credit Line:
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Elizabeth and Louis Strick
Object number:
2003.15
Restrictions & Rights:
© 2001, Larry Silver
See more items in:
Smithsonian American Art Museum Collection
Department:
Graphic Arts
Data Source:
Smithsonian American Art Museum
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:saam_2003.15

Telescoping Shopping Cart Collection

Creator:
Watson, Orla E., 1896-1983  Search this
Watson, Edith, (estate of)  Search this
Names:
Telescope Carts, Inc.  Search this
Western Machine Company  Search this
Goldman, Sylvan  Search this
O'Donnell, George  Search this
Taylor, Fred  Search this
Extent:
1 Cubic foot (2 boxes, 1 oversized folder)
Type:
Archival materials
Collection descriptions
Letters (correspondence)
Patents
Photographs
Date:
1946-1983
2000
Scope and Contents:
The Telescoping Shopping Cart Collection, 1946-1983; 2000, provides information relating to the development of the product and the legal challenges encountered by its creator, Orla E. Watson, in the patenting, licensing, and manufacturing process.

The collection is divided into three series: Series 1: Background Information, 1983;2000; Series 2: Business Records, 1946-1979; and Series 3: Legal Records, 1946-1966.

Series 1: Background Information, 1983; 2000, contains two items, a document entitled Brief History of the Telescopic Grocery Cart, authored by Leslie S. Simmons, personal representative, Edith Watson estate, 2000, and Orla E. Watson's death certificate, 1983.

Series 2: Business Records, 1946-1979, contains information on the finances and operations of Telescope Carts, Inc. and the development and marketing of the telescoping cart. Materials include royalty and income tax statements of Orla E. and Edith Watson, business correspondence, a time line of cart development, blueprints, patents, details about the patent process, and marketing and publicity materials of brochures and photographs.

Series 3: Legal Records, 1946-1966, contains material relating to the manufacture and licensing of telescope carts, and legal challenges to both the company and Orla E. Watson, including the challenges to the patent process spearheaded by Sylvan Goldman, and the evidence collected for Watson's claim for a tax refund from the Internal Revenue Service.
Arrangement:
Divided into 3 series

Series 1: Background information, 1983, 2000

Series 2: Business Records, 1946-1979

Series 3; Legal Records, 1946-1966
Biographical / Historical:
The first shopping cart in the United States was developed in the late 1930s and patented by Sylvan Goldman of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Goldman received US Patent 2,155,896 in April 1939 for a "combination basket and carriage" and in April of 1940 he received US Patent 2,196,914 for a "folding basket carriage for self-service stores." It consisted of upper and lower baskets placed atop a folding frame similar to that of a folding chair with wheels. Following use, the baskets would be removed and stacked with others and the frame folded. Prior to each use the baskets and the frame needed to be assembled.

In 1946, Orla E. Watson, of Kansas City, MO, devised a plan for a telescoping shopping cart which did not require assembly or disassembly of its parts before and after use; this cart could be fitted into another cart for compact storage, hence the cart descriptor. The hinged side of the baskets allowed the telescoping. Watson's Western Machine Company made examples of this invention, and the first ones were manufactured and put to use in Floyd Day's Super Market in 1947.

Alongside the telescoping cart, Watson developed the power lift which raised the lower basket on the two-basket telescoping cart to counter height while lifting the upper basket out of the cashier's way at the check out counter. This made moving groceries, before the invention of the automatic conveyor belt, easier for the customer and the cashier. Watson manufactured and sold the power lift in 1947, but then discontinued efforts on the invention to focus on the telescoping cart. The patent application was abandoned and never granted.

The manufacturing, distribution, and sales of Watson's telescoping carts was handled by Telescope Carts Inc., established in 1947 by Watson, his partner, Fred Taylor, and George O'Donnell. The company had difficulty with the manufacture and sale of the carts, as authorized suppliers were not making carts of the quality expected. Other manufacturers saw an opportunity, and soon telescoped carts were being made and sold by unlicensed parties despite Watson's pending patent.

Watson applied for a patent on his shopping cart invention in 1946, but Goldman contested it and filed an application for a similar patent. In 1949 Goldman relinquished his rights to the patent and granted them to Watson. In exchange, Goldman received licensing rights in addition to the three other licenses previously granted; Watson continued to receive royalties for each cart produced.

The royalties Watson received for each cart manufactured led to his 1954 claim against the Internal Revenue Service, for refund of taxes paid on the profits of his invention, as a Congressional bill changed the status of invention-derived income from ordinary income to capital gains, thereby lowering the taxes owed.

Orla E. Watson was born in 1896, and after attending Nevada Business College for one year, he worked as a stock clerk in a hardware store in Kansas City, then joined the Army until 1918, when he entered a series of jobs as machinist, layout man, forman. He tinkered with mechanical inventions on the side (such as a Model T Ford timer). In 1933, he opened his own business making air conditioners, but he took two more jobs before opening Western Machine Co., a machine shop and contract manufacturing business in 1946.

He had also applied for and was granted four patents prior to the telescoping shopping cart, for mechanical valves, pumps, and gauges, none of which were ever licensed or manufactured.

Orla E. Watson died January 17, 1983.
Separated Materials:
The National Museum of American History's Division of Culture and the Arts houses original shopping carts created by Sylvan Goldman and Orla E. Watson.
Provenance:
The collection was donated to the National Museum of American History in July, 2000, by the estate of Edith Watson, through Leslie S. Simmons, personal representative. The two telescoping Watson carts were donated in July 2000 by Leslie S. Simmons, personal representative, Edith Watson estate.
Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Topic:
Shopping carts  Search this
Retail trade -- Equipment and supplies  Search this
Grocery trade  Search this
Container industry -- Equipment and supplies -- 1940-2000  Search this
Supermarkets -- 1940-2000  Search this
Genre/Form:
Letters (correspondence) -- 20th century.
Patents -- 1940-1950
Photographs -- Black-and-white photoprints -- 1940-2000
Citation:
Telescoping Shopping Cart Collection, 1946-1983, 2000, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0739
See more items in:
Telescoping Shopping Cart Collection
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0739
Additional Online Media:

Telescope Shopping Cart Drawing on Letterhead

Maker:
Orla E. Watson, American, 1896-1983  Search this
Medium:
Ink on paper
Type:
Exhibitions
Telescope Shopping Cart Drawing on Letterhead
Made in:
USA
Date:
November 1948
Credit Line:
Telescoping Shopping Cart Collection, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, 2000.3030
Accession Number:
14.2012.165
See more items in:
Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum Collection
Exhibitions Department
Data Source:
Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:chndm_14.2012.165

Negative Log Book Number 3, (72-1 to 72-11410)

Creator:
Smithsonian Institution Archives Smithsonian Photographic Services  Search this
Physical description:
Ink on paper
Type:
Logs (records)
Date:
1972
Topic:
Photography--History  Search this
Local number:
SIA Acc. 10-001 [SIA_10-001_NLB03]
Restrictions & Rights:
No restrictions. All requests for duplication and use must be submitted in writing and approved by the Smithsonian Institution Archives. Contact SIA Reference Staff for further information (email photos@si.edu)
Data Source:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_arc_367100
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One row of 25 grocery carts--11'6" overall---Telescope Carts Inc. [black and white photoprint]

Collection Creator:
Watson, Orla E., 1896-1983  Search this
Watson, Edith, (estate of)  Search this
Extent:
1 Item (8.25" x 10".)
Type:
Archival materials
Photographs
Date:
1947
Scope and Contents:
Photographer unidentified.
Local Numbers:
02073901 (AC Scan)
General:
In Box 2, Folder 6.
Restrictions:
Unrestricted research use on site by appointment. Photographs must be handled with cotton gloves unless protected by sleeves.
Collection Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Topic:
Shopping carts  Search this
Grocers  Search this
Grocery trade  Search this
Shopping  Search this
Genre/Form:
Photographs -- 1940-1950 -- Black-and-white photoprints -- Silver gelatin
Collection Citation:
Telescoping Shopping Cart Collection, 1946-1983, 2000, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
See more items in:
Telescoping Shopping Cart Collection
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0739-ref554

A Brief History of the Telescoping Grocery Cart

Collection Creator:
Watson, Orla E., 1896-1983  Search this
Watson, Edith, (estate of)  Search this
Container:
Box 1, Folder 1
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
2000 - 2000
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Collection Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Collection Citation:
Telescoping Shopping Cart Collection, 1946-1983, 2000, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
See more items in:
Telescoping Shopping Cart Collection
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0739-ref20

Time line

Collection Creator:
Watson, Orla E., 1896-1983  Search this
Watson, Edith, (estate of)  Search this
Container:
Box 1, Folder 7
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1946 - 1947
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Collection Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Collection Citation:
Telescoping Shopping Cart Collection, 1946-1983, 2000, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
See more items in:
Telescoping Shopping Cart Collection
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0739-ref30

Blueprints and Sketches

Collection Creator:
Watson, Orla E., 1896-1983  Search this
Watson, Edith, (estate of)  Search this
Container:
Box 1, Folder 8
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1948 - 1948
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Collection Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Collection Citation:
Telescoping Shopping Cart Collection, 1946-1983, 2000, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
See more items in:
Telescoping Shopping Cart Collection
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0739-ref31

Patents, 1949-1950; 1956-1957

Collection Creator:
Watson, Orla E., 1896-1983  Search this
Watson, Edith, (estate of)  Search this
Container:
Box 2, Folder 1
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Collection Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Collection Citation:
Telescoping Shopping Cart Collection, 1946-1983, 2000, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
See more items in:
Telescoping Shopping Cart Collection
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0739-ref33

Promotional Materials, undated; 1947-1948

Collection Creator:
Watson, Orla E., 1896-1983  Search this
Watson, Edith, (estate of)  Search this
Container:
Box 2, Folder 3
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Collection Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Collection Citation:
Telescoping Shopping Cart Collection, 1946-1983, 2000, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
See more items in:
Telescoping Shopping Cart Collection
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0739-ref36

Background Articles, undated; 1947; 1950; 1975; 1977

Collection Creator:
Watson, Orla E., 1896-1983  Search this
Watson, Edith, (estate of)  Search this
Container:
Box 2, Folder 5
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Collection Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Collection Citation:
Telescoping Shopping Cart Collection, 1946-1983, 2000, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
See more items in:
Telescoping Shopping Cart Collection
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0739-ref39

Photographs, undated; 1947-1948

Collection Creator:
Watson, Orla E., 1896-1983  Search this
Watson, Edith, (estate of)  Search this
Container:
Box 2, Folder 6
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Collection Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Collection Citation:
Telescoping Shopping Cart Collection, 1946-1983, 2000, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
See more items in:
Telescoping Shopping Cart Collection
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0739-ref40

U.S. District Court Evidence, 1954

Collection Creator:
Watson, Orla E., 1896-1983  Search this
Watson, Edith, (estate of)  Search this
Container:
Box 2, Folder 10
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Collection Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Collection Citation:
Telescoping Shopping Cart Collection, 1946-1983, 2000, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
See more items in:
Telescoping Shopping Cart Collection
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0739-ref45

Sworn Statements and Depositions, 1947; 1949; 1954

Collection Creator:
Watson, Orla E., 1896-1983  Search this
Watson, Edith, (estate of)  Search this
Container:
Box 2, Folder 11
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Collection Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Collection Citation:
Telescoping Shopping Cart Collection, 1946-1983, 2000, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
See more items in:
Telescoping Shopping Cart Collection
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0739-ref47

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