A National cash register in a family-run jewellery store is still giving perfect service a century after it was made
The family has been running its jewellery business in Muncie, Indiana, since 1895. Five generations later, the glass-fronted antique cabinets and Victorian oak partners desks have been replaced by more modern retail furnishings. One important feature remains the same – the store’s ornate 100 year old cash register, which was installed in the 1920s and is still used every day.
The gleaming brass machine, with the company name displayed in ornate lettering, was made in 1912 by the National Cash Register Company of Dayton, Ohio – inventors of the first ever cash till. Totally at home in its diamond-studded environment, the machine is manually operated through punch keys and a hand-cranked side lever which, when pulled, produces the familiar “ker-ching” sound which opens the drawer. The compartments are notably larger than those of modern tills, reflecting the size of Edwardian bank notes. Another interesting point is that the maximum which can be rung up in any one transaction is $89.99 – which was worth considerably more back in 1912. The family gets around this by making a note of the difference and popping it in the drawer.
An antique till was used to humorous effect in the comedy series “Open All Hours”, but these days a museum is the most likely place to find one. However, antique dealers in Lancashire sometimes have them – just look among the antique desks and Victorian dining chairs .
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