A Rolodex is a rotating file device used to store business contact information. Its name is a portmanteau of the words rolling and index.

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

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


The Rolodex holds specially shaped index cards; the user writes or types the contact information for one person or company onto each card. The cards are notched to be able to be snapped in and out of the rotating spindle. Some users tape ordinary business cards directly to the Rolodex index card, or place them in plastic or vinyl sleeves in the shape of Rolodex cards. Some companies produced business cards in the shape of Rolodex cards, as a marketing tactic.

The Rolodex was invented in 1956, by the Danish engineer Hildaur Neilsen, the chief engineer of Arnold Neustadter's company 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]

See alsoEdit


  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". Archived from the original on 2008-11-07. Retrieved 2014-09-04.

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