Do you remember the days when cash registers reigned supreme in every store? Well, those days are long gone. Today, point-of-sale systems and iPads have taken over, gradually replacing the clunky old cash registers. But hey, I bet you can still find one of these relics at your favorite cash-only artisanal cocktail bar!

Let’s take a trip down memory lane and explore the fascinating history of cash registers. Believe it or not, these machines started off as simple adding machines. Back in the day, cashiers had to manually ring up each transaction, and when the total key was pushed, a bell would ring, alerting the manager to a sale. Ah, those were the days!

Curious how odd pricing came about? Well, according to Bill Bryson, it all started with the need for change. By charging odd amounts like 49 or 99 cents (or 45 or 95 cents when nickels were in greater use than pennies), cashiers had to open the till for that penny change. This way, they could announce the sale to the customer. Sneaky, huh?

Fast forward to the late 19th century, when a man named James Ritty invented the first mechanical cash register. However, managing two businesses proved to be overwhelming for Ritty, so he sold his interests to Jacob H. Eckert, a china and glassware salesman. Eckert then formed the National Manufacturing Company, which gained prominence after John H. Patterson took over in 1884.

Patterson saw the potential in cash registers and turned the company into the National Cash Register Company. He made significant improvements to the cash register by adding a paper roll, creating a journal for internal bookkeeping and a receipt for external bookkeeping. The introduction of receipts brought enhanced fraud protection, ensuring that transactions were accurately recorded.

Today, we live in a digital age where cash registers are becoming a thing of the past. Point-of-sale systems and iPads are streamlining our shopping experience, making transactions quicker and more efficient. However, it’s always fascinating to look back at the humble beginnings of these machines that revolutionized the way we conduct business.

So, the next time you stumble upon an old cash register, take a moment to appreciate its history. It’s a reminder of how far we’ve come and how technology continues to shape our world.