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Rolodex 67236 rotary business card file
A Rolodex file used in the 1970s.

A Rolodex was a rotating file device used to store business contact information (the name is a portmanteau word of rolling and index) with classic replicas manufactured by Newell Rubbermaid. The Rolodex held specially shaped index cards; the user wrote or typed the contact information for one person or company onto each card. The cards were notched to be able to be snapped in and out of the rotating spindle. Some users taped the contact's business card directly to the Rolodex index card, or a plastic or vinyl sleeve in the shape of a Rolodex card to place the business card within. Some companies produced business cards in the shape of Rolodex cards, as a marketing idea.

The Rolodex was invented in 1956, by the Danish engineer Hildaur Neilsen, the chief engineer of Zephyr American, a stationery manufacturer in New York.[1][2] First marketed in 1958,[3] it was an improvement to an earlier design called the Wheeldex. Zephyr American also invented, manufactured and sold the Autodex, a spring-operated phone directory that automatically opened to the selected letter, Swivodex, an inkwell that did not spill, Punchodex, a paper hole puncher, and Clipodex, an office aid that attached to a stenographer's knee.[4]

The name rolodex has become somewhat genericized for any personal organizer performing this function, or as a general term to describe the sum total of an individual's accumulated business contacts.

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  1. ^ H.L. Neilsen (1956-01-24). "United States Patent US2731966" (PDF). Retrieved 2014-09-04. 
  2. ^ Rotary card
  3. ^ "Fascinating facts about the invention of Rolodex by Hildaur Neilsen in 1954.". 2006-06-09. Retrieved 2014-09-04. 
  4. ^ Bellis, Mary. "History of the Rolodex - Hildaur Neilson invented the Rolodex". Retrieved 2014-09-04.