Posted: 12:01 a.m. Sunday, March 31, 2013
By Anne D’Innocenzio
The Associated Press
Cash register timeline
• 1879: James Ritty, a saloon owner in Dayton, Ohio, patents a machine with a mechanism that’s inspired from the apparatus that counts the spins of an ocean liner’s propeller in its engine room. The so-called “incorruptible cashier” was the first mechanical cash register and had metal keys with denominations pressed into them to indicate the amount of the sale. There was a bell to ring up sales.
• 1880-1883: Ritty’s mechanical register catches the attention of John H. Patterson, a businessman, who purchased several machines for his general store in Coalton, Ohio. He buys several more for his retail coal business in Dayton, Ohio.
• 1884: Patterson bought the rights to Ritty’s invention from Jacob H. Eckert, who had purchased the rights from Ritty. The price: $6,500. He renamed the company the National Cash Register Co. from the National Manufacturing Co. and started to put the registers into production in Dayton.
• 1888-1895: Eighty-four companies sell cash registers but only three actually survived long-term. Patterson, who aggressively bought out his competition and had a flair for sales, sets up an inventions department to create bigger and better thief-proof registers. He opened the first training program for his sales people.
• 1906: Charles Kettering, researcher for the National Cash Register Co., designs the first register powered by an electric motor.
• 1960s: The retail industry shifts to electronic registers.
• Early 1970s: National Cash Register introduces the first cash register that’s part of the store’s entire computer system. At the same time, National Cash Register introduces a bar coding scanning system to be used with the machine.
• 1974: The National Cash Register changes its name to NCR Corp. It makes the first bar code scanners.
• 1991: NCR acquired by AT&T
• 1994: NCR name changes to AT&T GIS by the end of 1996.
• 1995: AT&T GIS changes its name back to NCR Corp. in anticipation of being spun off to AT&T shareholders by January 1997 as an independent, publicly traded company.
• 1998: NCR installs first self-checkout system at a Ball’s Hen House grocery store in Kansas City, Missouri.
• 2003: Self-checkout areas become mainstream at many grocery stores and other discounters.
• 2012: NCR launches a new software program that runs on Apple’s iPad that’s connected to the keyboard at the cash register counter or can be detached and used as a mobile checkout device.
Source: NCR Corp. and Museum of American Heritage