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It's The Most Expensive Time of the Year!

December 19, 2022

There’s a Keystone in every great invention.

Cash Registers and the Technology Behind Them

It’s December, and online shopping carts are stocking up as quickly as the temperatures are dropping. Now more than ever, technology’s brilliance is front and center while people rush to complete their Christmas shopping. Instead of raiding malls and shopping centers, consumers have traded cold-hard cash for credit cards and online payments at hundreds of websites and online stores. 

As payment methods have evolved to cater towards consumer’s convenience, so too have today’s cash registers. Even popular Christmas presents like toy registers come equipped with cash trays and chip-reading pin pads, having children asking, “will that be cash or card?”


History of Cash Registers

The initial version of the cash register began as an attempt to stop employee embezzlement. James Ritty grew tired of his saloon employees stealing money from his saloon day after day, especially since there was no efficient way of tracking the exact number of daily transactions or money exchanged. Ritty’s first cash register drew inspiration from a machine that recorded every rotation a ship’s propeller made. The “Incorruptible Cashier” – patented in 1879 – recorded transactions and kept count of grand totals on a clock face-like dial. Ritty would continue enhancing his cash register with paper rolls and pins that could produce physical transaction records, making it easier to sell publicly.

Ritty would eventually go on to sell his cash register business for a grand sum of $1,000. Today, that same company is known as the NCR Corporation. 


Today’s Cash Registers

The term “Cash Register” seems somewhat dated, since consumers tend to carry more credit cards than cash these days. Shopping today is built entirely on convenience; how quickly can you find something, how quickly can it be shipped directly to you, and how quickly can you pay for it. With so many payment method options such as chip reading, tap-to-pay, and mobile phone payment, cash registers have relied on electronics and technology to continue the convenience. 

Technology once enhanced cash registers with the inclusion of digital screens displaying numbers and totals at a push of a button. Other buttons could automatically open register trays or print receipts. Today’s registers hold closer resemblance to tablets, with touch screen technology equipped with scanners and readers to support all types of card and phone payments. General shops and grocery stores have even designated specific registers for specific methods of payment, advertising “Card Only” or “Cash Only” registers for the sake of convenience. 

Convenience will always be a major proponent of technological advancement, and nothing screams convenient more than paying for all of your Christmas shopping with a simple tap of your phone. Keystone offers several products found in modern day cash registers, such as Battery& Coin Cell Holders, Contacts & Clipselectronic hardware & accessoriesquick-fit terminals & terminal boardsspacers & standoffs, and pins, plugs & sockets. From the entire Keystone Electronics team, we wish you a Happy Holidays and New Year!