Ringing Up Sales Over the Years

Posted by Joe P. on 12/3/2013
In 1879, a Dayton Ohio saloon owner came up with a device to prevent his employees from taking his profits. Known as the ritty Model, it was named after its inventor, James Ritty. Mr. Ritty had it patented and later sold the design to Jacob H. Eckert, who eventually sold to John H. Patterson. Mr Patterson changed the name to National Cash Register Company, and improved the cash register by adding a paper roll which recorded sales transactions. It was the first method of providing a sales receipt ever. The receipt helped the business owner understand how his employees were handling his money, and additionally showed the day’s total sales.

At some point an employee of National Cash Register Company invented a cash register which operated by a small motor, however the first registers were cranked by hand and did not print receipts. The way the invention prevented theft was in that the register cash drawer would only open when a sale had been entered into the register. To alert the business owner that a sale was being transacted, a bell would ring from the register whenever the “total” button was pushed. This is where we get the expression “to ring up a sale or purchase.”

The cash register was and is still designed with a drawer featuring separate compartments for each denomination of bills up to twenties. Bills with higher denominations are routinely placed in the drawer, and beneath the tray containing the separated bills.

Today’s cash registers are usually attached to other devices such as scales, barcode scanners, checkstands and debit/credit card terminals. While they continue to serve a purpose, they are large and cumbersome and are not able to provide business owners with the security and user friendliness of general purpose computers with POS software.