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
National Cash Register, Class 51
- In the 1950s Americans increasingly bought groceries in supermarkets, which served large numbers of customers. Consumers selected their own goods, and took them to a clerk who rang up sales. To make transactions as efficient as possible, the National Cash Register Company introduced machines that dispensed coins automatically, avoiding time and errors associated with making change. This change-making cash register went on the market in 1954, with a new model in 1958. This example was given to the Smithsonian by NCR in 1959, on the occasion of the seventy-fifth anniversary of the company.
- Accession file.
- date made
- National Cash Register Company
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- accession number
- catalog number
- Data Source
- National Museum of American History