Keedoozle 1948

Keedoozle was the world's first automated supermarket chain. Grocer and innovator Clarence Saunders started this shopping concept in 1937 and it was revolutionary for the time.

A system of codes and ticker tape meant that the shoppers didn't handle product. They viewed the items through the windows and inserted their tape for coding. Once they had collected all the codes they needed, they took their tape to the register where the shopping was tallied and the order was processed in an automated system and shot out at the end with a customer code. Customers waited in a fancy schmancy room where their shopping was 'delivered' to them.

The concept didn't survive. In busy times the orders got confused and the automated system couldn't keep up with the demand. Keedoozle's three sites closed for business in 1949.

It seems like it would take the fun out of grocery shopping. Grabbing items off the shelf, piling them high in the trolley, browsing the shelves, chucking in the occasional addition. I can appreciate the innovative approach Saunders applied to his business, but it seems like a redundant concept... like table service at McDonalds!

Photos: Francis Miller/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images

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