With the expansion of American businesses in the late 19th century, shopkeepers needed ways to secure their money.
Early cash registers were entirely mechanical, without receipts. The employee was required to enter each transaction on the register, and when the total key was pushed, the drawer opened and a bell would ring. This bell was to notify the manager that a sale taking place.
The first mechanical cash register was invented by James Ritty and John Birch following the American Civil War. James was the owner of a saloon in Dayton, Ohio and wanted to stop employees from pilfering his profits. The Ritty Model I was invented in 1879 and with the help of James’ brother, John, they patented it in 1883. Shortly thereafter, Ritty sold his interest in the cash register business to Jacob H. Eckert of Cincinnati, who formed the National Manufacturing Company. Eckert sold the company in 1884 to John H. Patterson, who renamed the company the National Cash Register Company (NCR). Patterson continued to make improvements to the cash register by adding a paper roll to record transactions. NCR expanded quickly and became multi-national in 1888 and by 1911 had sold one million machines. While working for NCR, Charles F. Kettering designed a cash register with an electric motor in 1906. NCR continued to evolve and currently makes self-service kiosks, point-of-sale terminals, automated teller machines, check processing systems and barcode scanners.
The PAST Antiques Marketplace has a number of antique cash registers for sale. Visit us on Route 85 in Montville, Connecticut to see our full line of antiques and vintage collectibles.