National Cash Registers

The history behind the brand

National Cash Register

They say that necessity is the mother of invention and the origins of the first cash register would seem to prove this old saying true.

James Ritty, a saloon owner from Dayton, Ohio who noticed that his bartenders were stealing money off him, successfully developed a device for recording transactions in 1879 by trial and error which later came to be known as "Ritty's Incorruptible Cashier." In 1883 he received a patent for his machine whose bell-like sounds gave rise to the now famous advertising slogan "the bell heard round the world."

Ritty's machine, which was first manufactured by the National Manufacturing Company, caught the attention of coal-mine owner James Patterson, who was so impressed with the device that he decided to buy the machine and the manufacturing company in 1884, and renamed it the National Cash Register Company. He later improved on the original design by adding a paper roll designed to record sales transactions. Later, in 1906, an employee for the National Cash Register Company by the name of Charles F. Kettering designed the first cash register with an electric motor.

Not only did James Patterson's National Cash Register Company introduce the world's businesses to its cash registers and the notion of accurate accounting of cash transactions, but they also set the standard for improved working environments. In order to boost worker morale and efficiency, he built a new factory made up of 80% glass allowing for more light and ventilation. He also encouraged frequent exercise breaks, and provided employees with first-aid, general healthcare, and a cafeteria that served nutritious meals. With the help of his happy employees, Patterson turned out quality register after quality register, and by 1911 the company had sold over 1,000,000 units worldwide.

The cash registers the company are most famous for were primarily made of brass or bronze, and were affixed to a wooden base. The National Cash Register Company became NCR Corp. in 1974, which was eventually acquired by AT&T in the 1990s. Today NCR makes business machines, including cash registers, that use computer technology and electronics.

Today, in addition to many other products and services, the NCR Corp. remains a leading manufacturer and developer of the most sophisticated point of service workstations on the market today. Their simple, stylish designs help free up valuable counter space, while their clear, easy-to-use operator interfaces help reduce training time, and improve customer service. NCR's line of high speed printers come equipped with color logo design capabilities, features which also help to improve efficiency and customer satisfaction.

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