Computers & Business Machines
Imagine the loss, 100 years from now, if museums hadn't begun preserving the artifacts of the computer age. The last few decades offer proof positive of why museums must collect continuously—to document technological and social transformations already underway.
The museum's collections contain mainframes, minicomputers, microcomputers, and handheld devices. Computers range from the pioneering ENIAC to microcomputers like the Altair and the Apple I. A Cray2 supercomputer is part of the collections, along with one of the towers of IBM's Deep Blue, the computer that defeated reigning champion Garry Kasparov in a chess match in 1997. Computer components and peripherals, games, software, manuals, and other documents are part of the collections. Some of the instruments of business include adding machines, calculators, typewriters, dictating machines, fax machines, cash registers, and photocopiers
- After the Civil War, as American cities and businesses grew, business owners increasingly hired strangers to assist customers. At the time, it was all too easy for clerks and barkeepers to keep part of the money they received. The cash register, invented by the Ritty brothers of Dayton, Ohio, had a large display to indicate the sums customers paid. It also had a locked compartment that tallied total receipts. This is the Rittys' first machine, or an early replica of it. It was the basis for a commercial product called "Ritty's Incorruptible Cashier."
- By 1884 the Rittys were out of business, but their patents were purchased by the National Cash Register Company. NCR made and sold much improved cash registers. By 1904, they were ready to convey the history of their company by showing this model at the St. Louis World's Fair. NCR went on to successfully make not only cash registers and accounting machines but electronic computers.
- date made
- ca 1904
- National Cash Register Company
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- accession number
- catalog number
- Data Source
- National Museum of American History
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