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Cash Register

Bradford on Avon Museum, Wiltshire

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National Cash Register

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The till machine that is displayed in Bradford on Avon Museum as part of the Christopher Pharmacy shop is a heavy ornate item of copper alloy. It was made by the American company National Cash Registers at Dayton, Ohio, USA and is thought to  date from 1901. The company still exists, under the abbreviated name NCR, but dealing in electronic equipment these days.

A note underneath the till drawer suggests that it had belonged to E. Edwards & Co, butchers whose shop was at 33 Silver Street. In 1931 Edwards’ shop closed and presumably the chemist Richard Christopher acquired the cash register then.

The charge for goods -in pre-decimal money of pounds, shillings and pence- was registered by pressing a combination of levers which displayed this to the customer, opened the drawer (accompanied by sounding a bell) and added the money to a stored total. A lockable flap covered counters that showed the number of customers, amounts received on account, number of “no sale” rung up and amount paid out. A special security check showed the number of times the flap itself had been opened. All these functions were done purely mechanically, with cogs, cams and levers.