The First Cash Register - James Ritty

A Patent For the Cash Register

The First Cash Register - James Ritty

James Ritty owned several saloons, including one in Dayton, Ohio. While traveling on a steamboat trip to Europe in 1878, Ritty was fascinated by an apparatus that counted how many times the ship's propeller went around. He contemplated whether or not a similar mechanism could be made to record the cash transactions made at his saloons.

On January 30, 1883, James Ritty and John Birch received a patent for inventing the cash register.

James Ritty then invented what was nicknamed the "Incorruptible Cashier" or the first working, mechanical cash register. His invention came with that familiar bell sound referred to in advertising as "The Bell Heard Round the World". 

Still a saloonkeeper, Ritty opened a small factory in Dayton to manufacture cash registers. The company did not prosper and in 1881, Ritty became overwhelmed with the responsibilities of running two businesses, and sold all his interests in the cash register business

National Cash Register Company

After reading a description of the cash register designed by Ritty and sold by the National Manufacturing Company, John H. Patterson decided to buy both the company and the patent. He renamed the company the National Cash Register Company in 1884.

Patterson improved the cash register by adding a paper roll to record sales transactions.

Charles F. Kettering designed a cash register with an electric motor in 1906, while working at the National Cash Register Company.

He later worked at General Motors and invented an electric self-starter (ignition) for a Cadillac.

Today the NCR Corporation is computer hardware, software and electonics company that makes self-service kiosks, point-of-sale terminals, automated teller machines, processing systems, barcode scanners and business consumables.

They also provide IT maintenance support services.

NCR, formerly based in Dayton, Ohio, moved to Atlanta in 2009. The headquarters are now located in unincorporated Gwinnett County, Georgia. Future headquarters are planned for the end of 2016 at Technology Square (next to Georgia Institute of Technology) located in Atlanta, Georgia.

The Remainder of James Ritty's Life

James Ritty opened another saloon, called the Pony House, in 1882. For his latest saloon, Ritty commissioned wood carvers from Barney and Smith Car Company to turn 5,400 pounds of Honduras mahogany into a bar. The bar was 12 feet tall and 32 feet wide.

The initials JR were put into the middle and the left and right sections looked like the interior of a passenger railcar, with the giant mirrors set back about a foot with curved, hand-tooled leather covered elements at the top and curved bezel mirror-encrusted sections on each side. The Pony House saloon was torn down in 1967, but the bar was saved and today is the bar at Jay's Seafood in Dayton.

Ritty retired from the saloon business in 1895. He died of heart trouble while at home. He is entombed with his wife Susan and his brother John at Dayton's Woodland Cemetery.

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Your Citation
Bellis, Mary. "The First Cash Register - James Ritty." ThoughtCo, Aug. 16, 2016, Bellis, Mary. (2016, August 16). The First Cash Register - James Ritty. Retrieved from Bellis, Mary. "The First Cash Register - James Ritty." ThoughtCo. (accessed December 11, 2017).