Cash Register, 1913
The ornate brass and marble exterior of this cash register signaled the authority of the corporate retail environment and provided visual allure in early 20th century stores. But most importantly the cash register protected owners from unscrupulous employees.
The cash register, invented by James Ritty in 1879 and perfected by John Patterson, became important as retail transitioned from family operations to larger businesses. With a hidden recording tape the machines protected owners from dishonest sales clerks who found the earlier open cash drawer a temptation. The cash register also supplied the business owner a more accurate and systematic approach to inventory control.