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Guide to the Photo Data Systems Incorporated records
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Collection Overview
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The Photo Data Systems Incorporated records are comprised of administrative papers and records, design drawings and promotional materials regarding the Slide-a-Mat machine invented in the 1960's. It was an early system demonstrating the concept of shopping from the comfort of an armchair and push button shopping.
Around 1965, Ann and William Carolan invented the Slide-a-Mat machine and formed Photo Data Systems Incorporated. The machine's cabinet was 3 feet by 4 feet by 4 feet, and contained two 12 inch screens, which displayed pictures and detailed information on products ranging from appliances, furniture, houses, and vacation packages. In front of the machine, buttons allowed customers to navigate through different products or product features such as color and size. To place orders, the Slide-a-Mat included a telephone with an optical sense card reader and a set of cards. When ready, the customer slid a vendor-specific plastic card into the telephone which automatically dialed the vendor. The Slide-a-Mat machine introduced the terms "push button shopping" and "shopping from armchairs" long before online commerce. The company had hoped to place machines in public places such as airports and shopping centers.
0.25 linear feet 3 folders
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