Brass Cash Registers
Cash Register History
In the late 1800, most businesses were getting larger.  They were no longer the family owned business with one or two people handling the money.  The large businesses found that the return on their investment was not what it should be.  In many cases their employees were making more money than the owners.

One Cafe owner, James Ritty, from Dayton, Ohio, is generally credited with inventing the first cash register.  His Cafe, known as "No. 10" or "the Empire" had a great many patrons but James found that he was losing money.  Together with his brother John, they patented the first cash register on November 4, 1879.  They developed a number of different model, one of which was named "The Incorruptible Cashier".  Their marketing effort was not a great success and the company was sold a couple of times.  They did bring the cash register to the attention of a man named John Patterson.  On January 5, 1885 he acquired 227 shares out of 300, in "The National Manufacturing Co.".
He changed the name to "The National Cash Register Co.".  The sale of the cash register met a great deal of resistance, both from the merchants, but especially from employees.  John Patterson was a great businessman.  He made the cash register the focal point of the business.  This was done by making the register attractive to the public and designing features that helped the owners to prevent theft by their employees.  The register cabinets were made of the finest woods with many different inlay patterns.  Also in bronze, brass, nickel, copper oxide, and flat metal but with engraved or fancy painted enamel designs.  The registers came with a 2 year guarantee which meant that it had to be well built.  Therefore a great many survived the wear and tear of many years of use and were attractive enough that their owners didn't throw them away.  Many are still tucked away in attics, garages and basements.
Other companies saw the potential and also developed cash registers.  While National was the largest, there were over 200 different manufacturers.  Many of these changed ownership and were the same machine with a different name.  They also made very attractive registers and these swelled the ranks of the antique cash registers.
< Prev   Next >