Manual Cash Registers

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Before UPC Codes, digital scanning and debit transactions, manual cash registers were everywhere. Operated by cashiers with nimble fingers, these devices of the 20th century made the retail world go round.

Invented in the late 1800s by an enterprising saloon owner from Dayton, Ohio named James Ritty, the modern cash register came to be known everywhere after the National Cash Register company - NCR - purchased Ritty’s company in 1890. Retail sales were brisker than ever after that, thanks to the new and innovtive device.

In the mid-1970s, a new kid on the block came to town and things were never the same. The UPC Code - the beginning of digital scanning technology - changed retail shopping everywhere. The manual cash register became digital and scanning items on the checkout conveyor became the norm, not the exception.

Today we take for granted the ease and speed of being able to scan items at the checkout, sometimes via the help of a cashier and more often than not, self-serve. In spite of this new reality, the manual cash register continues to hold its place in history as one of the key devices that moved the retail world forward in the 20th century.