Credit Registers

Shopkeepers have long relied on written records to keep track of credits and debits. Relatively simple and inexpensive objects eased this work.

In the late 19th century, as American shopkeepers hired strangers to work in their stores, they showed a new concern for keeping track of retail transactions.
Description
In the late 19th century, as American shopkeepers hired strangers to work in their stores, they showed a new concern for keeping track of retail transactions. Azel Clarence Hough (1859-1946), the son of a creamery owner in South Butler, New York, took out a range of patents for the design and improvement of cash drawers between 1892 and 1899 (U.S. patents 484501, 486107, D22024, 534795 and 618034). His ideas served as the basis of the products of the Hough Cash Recorder Company of Indian Orchard, Massachusetts.
This example of Hough’s Security Cash Recorder is a large oak box with an oak lid. At the front on the right is a lock for the cash drawer; the drawer is on the lower left front. On top is an opening that shows a roll of paper. Salesclerks were required to enter a total on this paper roll and advance it in order to open the cash drawer.
This model is quite similar to the Hough Security Cash Register No. 70 shown in an advertisement reproduced in Crandall and Robins, p. 318. This machine sold for $15. Hough Cash Recorder Company advertised in Hardware Dealer’s magazine as late as June, 1906. However, its products were soon outpaced by the autographic registers sold by NCR.
In the early 20th century, Hough became interested in the manufacture of wooden blinds, and took out several related patents. He first manufactured shades in South Butler, then in Worcester, Massachusetts, and then in Janesville, Wisconsin. The Hough Shade Corporation he formed survives under the name of Hufcor.
References:
Dorothy Wiggins, “Town of Butler Agricultural & Comprehensive Plan," South Butler Public Forum – September 15, 2008, pp. 1–2.
American Lumberman, vol. 1, 1940, p. 58.
Richard R. Crandall and Sam Robins, The Incorruptible Cashier, vol. 2, Vestal, N.Y.: Vestal Press, 1990, pp. 316–318.
Location
Currently not on view
date made
1895
maker
Hough Cash Recorder Company
ID Number
1983.0881.01
accession number
1983.0881
catalog number
1983.0881.01
The McCaskey Register Company of Alliance, Ohio, manufactured systems for keeping track of accounts and credit registers from its organization in 1903 until its purchase by Victor Adding Machine Company in 1953. The firm was started by Perry A.
Description
The McCaskey Register Company of Alliance, Ohio, manufactured systems for keeping track of accounts and credit registers from its organization in 1903 until its purchase by Victor Adding Machine Company in 1953. The firm was started by Perry A. McCaskey, a grocer in Lisbon, Ohio, who took out a patent May 19, 1896, for a “bill and account file” (#560523). He also patented a more complex “credit-accounting appliance” on December 30, 1902 (#717247). McCaskey contiinued to assign patents to the McCaskey Register Company through 1907, although ownership of the firm passed to others and several other inventors contributed to the product.
This particular machine combines a system for keeping accounts with a cash drawer. It has a wooden base with a wooden roll-top cover. A slatted panel designed for holding credit slips fits over the cash drawer and a piece of glass that fits over the panel. A silver-colored metal compartment is on the front of the cash drawer, with five buttons at the top. A bell is at the back on the inside.
McCaskey patents describe a system of credit slips that fit on bill-holders in the back of the machine. This machine has no bill-holders or slips.
The donor dated this machine to 1893. However, it was made after the McCaskey Register Company was founded in 1903 and resembles McCaskey’s 1907 patent, hence the later date assigned.
References:
P. A. McCaskey, “Credit-Accounting Appliance,” U.S. Patent 717247, December 30, 1902.
Craig Bara and Lyle Crist, Alliance, Charleston, SC: Arcadia Press, 1998, 29.
Richard R. Crandall and Sam Robins, The Incorruptible Cashier, vol. 2, Vestal, N.Y.: Vestal Press, 1990, pp. 318–319.
Location
Currently not on view
date made
1910
maker
McCaskey Register Company
ID Number
MA.336597
accession number
1977.0174
catalog number
336597
The McCaskey Credit Register Company of Alliance, Ohio, was in business from 1903 until its acquisition by the Victor Adding Machine Company in 1953.
Description
The McCaskey Credit Register Company of Alliance, Ohio, was in business from 1903 until its acquisition by the Victor Adding Machine Company in 1953. It manufactured a variety of devices to assist in accounting, including this one for keeping track of the accounts of customers.
The instrument is made of ferrous metal, painted black. The outside frame holds eight panels or leaves that rest vertically but may be opened out horizontally. The back of the front leaf and the front of the second are divided to allow an alphabetic index of the later leaves, with small paper slips giving the names of customers and a number for each name. The back of the second leaf, the front and back of the third through seventh leaves, and the front of the eighth leaf are divided into compartments, each of which has a clamp to hold the sales slips in place. These compartments are numbered from 1 to 200. Patent dates listed on the front of the machine range from October 10, 1899, to February 4, 1913.
A mark on the front of the machine reads: The McCASKEY (/) McCASKEY SYSTEMS (/) THE McCASKEY REGISTER CO. (/) ALLIANCE, OHIO. A mark on a metal tab on the borrom of the inside of the front reads: 110831. A mark on a small slip on the first panel reads: 68 - York Springs Fire Co. A mark on a small slip on the second panel reads: Huntington Township. York Springs is a town in Adams County (near Gettysburg), Pennsylvania. The town of Huntington is the county seat of Huntington County, Pennsylvania.
Reference:
Rand-McNally Library Atlas, 1912.
Location
Currently not on view
date made
ca 1913
maker
McCaskey Register Company
ID Number
1989.0186.01
accession number
1989.0186
catalog number
1989.0186.01
The National Cash Register Company of Dayton, Ohio, expanded rapidly in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Description
The National Cash Register Company of Dayton, Ohio, expanded rapidly in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It soon offered not only registers that kept digital records of transactions, but so-called autographic registers that simply allowed one to maintain written records of sales. This example consists of an oak box with a hinged lid, an opening in the lid that reveals a paper tape on which sales may be recorded, and a cash drawer. The decoration at the back of the register, the frame around the paper tape, and the handle on the door are of brass.
The National Size 45 autographic register sold in 1908 for $20.00. For related documentation see 1987.0751.03 and 1987.0751.04.
Reference: Richard R. Crandall and Sam Robins, The Incorruptible Cashier, vol. 2, Vestal, N.Y.: Vestal Press, 1990, pp. 304–315, esp. 312.
Location
Currently not on view
date made
1913
maker
National Cash Register Company
ID Number
1987.0751.01
accession number
1987.0751
catalog number
1987.0751.01

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