Fun Facts About the Old Contact Manager: The RolodexDecember 16th, 2011
I remember my first job out of college working at an accounting firm in Manhattan. I arrived the first day in my new suit and tie and the floor manager showed me to my desk. My desk was filled with various company manuals, client literature, a computer and a small black plastic box. That box was to hold the business cards that I picked up as I met with my clients and other contacts. I remember having a fun discussion with a colleague about how to organize the box – the box contained index cards for each letter of the alphabet. But there seems to be no set rule on whether the letters are for people’s first names, last names or company names. That black plastic box was a small Rolodex called a, “business card tray”. Do you have a story about your Rolodex? Leave it in the comments below!
We’ve processed our share of Rolodexes here at CloudContacts. Customers have sent us their huge Rolodex filled with cards and other customers just send us the little plastic slips filled with cards. We’ve gotten pretty good at getting those cards out so we can do our scanning and transcription. I always find it interesting to look at the Rolodex and how it was organized.
What was life like when everyone had a Rolodex and before CloudContacts?
Wikipedia’s Rolodex entry explains that the Rolodex was created in 1956 and people would hand-write (later type) the data onto the special cards to fit in to the holder. We’ve seen all types of cards come in for processing – handwritten cards, typed cards, business cards taped onto the special cards, business cards with holes punched in them to fit into the slots, and even special business cards that have the holes pre-drilled into them to help getting the card into the Rolodex.
I wonder how many people just gave up on contact management for decades because of the massive effort to file all the new business cards they collected?
Some of the Rolodexes we have processed have multiple cards behind each other in a plastic sleeve – how do you find those when you need to find a person’s contact info? What happens when you have cards on the front and back and now a new contact provides a card that alphabetically has to go in the middle? How much time did it take for a secretary to manage a Rolodex?
Using our service, your contacts are available from anywhere and can be categorized and searched to find a specific contact in seconds. Also, you get back all of the time trying to keep the Rolodex organized. We have features like the Contact Updater to help you keep your contact data current and our social media features keep you connected to your new contacts. And if you want to get nostalgic, you can browse your card gallery to view all of the images and twist the pages as you used to with your Rolodex.
Kayla did some research and found some fun facts about the Rolodex – below are a few of the cool bits she found. My favorite bit is that a mob leader in Brooklyn kept all of his contacts in a Rolodex and now the feds are using it against him in court!
- The name ‘Rolodex’ comes from the combination of ‘rolling’ and ‘index’
- Definitely known as ‘old-fashioned’ now.
- Hildaur L. Neilsen was the inventor, but Arnold Neustadter received all the credit.
- In the 80’s, lawsuits were being filed accusing people of copying their Rolodexes.
- Nowadays, Rolodexes aren’t used as much for holding contacts, but instead crafts, recipes and photos. Even used in helping bartender’s remember drinks quickly!