The First Grocery Cart on Wheels

The First Grocery Cart on Wheels

Original patent documents of Orla Watson showing design of the nesting feature of the Telescope Cart. The rear of the cart swings forward when a cart is shoved into it, hence the nesting feature.

The grocery cart has gone through many changes since its inception.
Before the wheeled cart, shoppers used smaller hand-held baskets that
didn’t hold a lot of merchandise. Retailers noticed that their sales
were being limited because shoppers stopped placing items into
their baskets when they became too heavy. Then a local grocer had the
idea to mount two baskets on a 4 wheel cart.

The very first grocery cart
on wheels was invented by Sylvan Goldman of Oklahoma City in the 1930s.
Goldman, who owned a local chain of grocery stores called Piggly Wiggly
was noticing the same problems with his wicker baskets. They simply
were too small and heavy for shoppers to gather more than just a few

First Grocery Cart

Mr. Goldman was inspired by a pair of folding chairs. The frames were
designed to fold down while the two baskets nested between the frames.
Several revisions ensued before the new grocery cart operated as it was
intended. In 1940 the very first grocery cart was patented, and by 1947
Goldman and a friend (who was a mechanic) formed the Folding Basket
Carrier Company. The carts were manufactured and sold to stores around
the country.