Telescoping Shopping Cart, c. 1949

It is the busiest time of year for shopping. Here is a little food for thought while filling your carts this holiday season. This Smithsonian Snapshot marks the opening of “Food: Transforming the American Table 1950–2000” at the National Museum of American History with these 1949 telescoping shopping carts.

In 1946, Orla E. Watson of Kansas City, Mo., developed the familiar telescoping shopping carts that nestle together for compact storage. Watson claimed that each additional parked cart required “only one-fifth as much space as an ordinary cart.”

The first carts premiered in 1947 at Floyd’s Super Market in Kansas City.

The Smithsonian’s first major exhibition on food history explores some of the major changes in food and eating in postwar America. To learn more about the revolution in food shopping and other food innovations, visit the National Museum of American History’s “FOOD: Transforming the American Table 1950–2000” exhibition website.

These shopping carts and flier are two of 137 million artifacts, works of art and specimens in the Smithsonian’s collection. They are currently on display in “FOOD: Transforming the American Table 1950–2000.” To learn more about these items, visit the National Museum of American Historywebsite.

Posted: 13 December 2012
About the Author:

Jessica Porter Sadeq has worked in the Central Office of Public Affairs since June 2007. In August 2008 she joined the Internal Communications department as an internal communications coordinator.