The way that the cash register has evolved is fascinating. Imagine the first working mechanical cash register being invented back in 1879 by James Ritty, a business owner, because he wanted a solution to prevent his employees from opening the cash drawer and taking his earnings without his knowledge.

He came up with the famous ringing “Bell Heard Round the World” after each transaction was completed. On January 30, 1883, Ritty and John Birch received a patent for this invention. Ritty’s register used denominations pressed into metal taps to show the sale amount. It also summed up the cash values from the key presses.

A very interested John H. Patterson, after purchasing several machines to use in his retail store, decided to buy both the company and the cash register patent for a mere $6,500. In 1884, he renamed the company the National Cash Register Company. His company was the most successful of the 84 companies that sold cash registers in the late 1800’s to early 1900’s.

Patterson’s registers eventually added spare rolls to reconcile the day’s transactions in each price range. The amount was stored on a large dial on the front of the machine. At the end of each day, the merchant could add up the holes in a paper tape and therefore keep track of the sales.

The National Cash Register Company line, which grew to represent 95 percent of the total market, came up with a fancy brass casing. Although dating back to the period between 1888 and 1915, many of these are still available today in antique markets. Cash registers were also made of cast iron, metal and wood with finishes including antiqued copper, paint, nickel plate and even silver and gold plate. In 1906, the first powered cash register was designed with an electric motor.

The Standard Cash Register is found most commonly in small retail stores and restaurants. It allows price entering, allocation of an item to the appropriate department, analyzing of sales data, what each department has sold, and prints a receipt for the customer.

The Modern Cash Registers (ECR) and PC Based Systems (Point of Sale) no longer require the user to enter prices manually and allow the user to scan in items with the help of barcodes that identify each item. The price info is entered, and the item can be taken out of the store’s inventory. Some registers allow an online connection to an ERP system to follow sales of items and manage re-orders. As an added marketing incentive, POS systems can even track customers’ purchasing behavior in order to offer them special promotions.

Thanks to integrating the Internet into Point of Sale, cash registers can now be computers with touch screens and an entire network of devices. Pictures with pre-programmed prices can be “clicked” to ring up items. Credit cards can easily be accepted.

Another popular option is the use of mobile Point of Sale devices, which includes smartphones and tablets. Servers or bartenders can ring up customers and accept money with their individual handheld device. Bills can be split up, orders can be taken, credit cards accepted, and a printout provided for bookkeeping or accounting purposes.

Counterpoint POS Software is a major tool that can efficiently manage your business, keep track of your inventory and customers, provide a detailed sales history, help control your purchasing and, most importantly, add to your profitability.