01 February 2019
Back in the Day: Rolodex
Back in the Day: Rolodex


Here at A.B.E. Doors and Windows, we have a pretty big age gap between our employees. Our youngest team member is twenty-one and our oldest, Jim Lett Sr who first started the company in 1974, ranks as our oldest. This leads to some comical ‘Back in my Day’ stories.

Today’s blast from the past: the Rolodex!

After our managers emerged from the time capsule that is our basement storage, they had not one but two Rolodexes. One was a cheap knockoff and the other was the genuine article. I had forgotten just how big they were in this day and age of smart phones and Google.

The Rolodex was invented in 1956 by Hildaur Nielsen who worked for Zephyr American, a stationary company in New York. If you didn’t know, the Rolodex was patented to hold specially-designed index cards which would contain contact information. Some companies even cut out the middle man and started printing their business cards so that they fit right into the Rolodex.

Believe it or not, the dated Rolodex was actually an improvement on something similar called the Wheeldex. Zephyr American also manufactured the Autodex which was spring-operated to automatically open to a selected letter, Swivodex which was an inkwell that did not spill, and the Punchodex which was a paper hole puncher. As you can see, they had cornered the market on all things office related that ended in “Dex.”

In today’s age, only the name Rolodex has survived. I know a few people that still refer to their contacts [in their smart phone] as a Rolodex. However, considering the amount of dust we had to knock off ours, I’d say they’re a relict of a bygone age.

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