Gadgets shopping

Things we learned today: The History of the Shopping Cart

Shopping Cart
Shopping Cart

Ah, the shopping cart.

Whether you call it a buggy, shopping cart, grocery cart, trolley, shopping carriage, or shopping basket – we can all agree that they make shopping a bit easier.

Web Watch will refrain from commenting on how recent times have shown parents are using shopping carts as child-restraint systems instead of having lazy kids that are old-enough and big-enough to walk along in the store actually do so.  Don’t know what we’re not talking about?  Here’s a randomly selected example:

child in shopping cart (image courtesy of Flickr)

Yeah, Web Watch never got to ride in the shopping cart when we were growing up once we were big enough to walk on our own in the store. Our parents would never have allowed it.

But we digress and return to the topic at hand – the HISTORY OF THE SHOPPING CART.  Some things that we learned today include:

  • In the early 1900’s, the paper grocery bag was invented by Walter Deubner in St. Paul, Minnesota.  Most likely because he applied the THREE MINUTE RULE with his shoppers, and determined they needed an easier way to carry their bags home.  It took four years to develop.
  • Handbaskets, both wicker and wire, were limiting shoppers’ ability to buy more stuff as the baskets would get heavy with goods. Sylvan Goldman, owner of Piggly-Wiggly supermarkets in Oklahoma City, put wheels on some handbaskets in the late 1930’s and invented the first wheeled shopping cart.  His inspiration?  A folding chair in his office – as a folding cart would be easier to store, just like the folding chairs were. 
  • Goldman started the Folding Basket Carrier Company in 1947 to make his shopping cart and sell them to other stores.
  • Cart design changed in 1947.  Instead of carts being folded and stored individually, like the folding chair in Goldman’s office, they were designed to be nested together by having a hinged basket that could get out of the way of subsequent carts. 
  • Child seats were also added to the shopping cart in 1947.  The plastic flip-top seat cover was added in 1952.
  • Today’s shopping cart is almost double the capacity of the original model.