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This Day in Pop Culture for November 4

First Cash Register

1879: Ka-Ching! The First Cash Register

James Jacob Ritty opened his first saloon in Dayton, Ohio in 1871 and billed himself as a “dealer in pure whiskies, fine wines and cigars.” While his business was successful, Ritty discovered that some of his employees were pocketing customer’s money instead of depositing the cash. For years he struggled to find a way to better record his cash transactions. While on a steamship trip to Europe in 1878, Ritty was fascinated with a mechanism that counted how many times the ship’s propeller made a full circle. When he got home, he and his brother began working on the first cash register and on this day in 1879 the device was patented as “Ritty’s Incorruptible Cashier.” Soon, the pair opened a small factory manufacturing cash registers but kept the saloon open as well. The second business wasn’t as successful and created too much stress for the Rittys. The brothers sold the second business to a group of investors who created the National Manufacturing Company which was renamed The National Cash Register Company in 1884 and today is better known as NCR. (Main image: Wikimedia)


  • 1879: Will Rogers (actor)
  • 1916: Walter Cronkite (journalist)
  • 1916: Ruth Handler (creator of Barbie)
  • 1918: Art Carney (actor)
  • 1925: Doris Roberts (actress)
  • 1937: Loretta Swit (actress)

  • 1953: Peter Lord (animator)
  • 1960: Kathy Griffin (comedian)
  • 1961: Jeff Probst (TV host)
  • 1969: Sean Combs (rapper)
  • 1969: Matthew McConaughey (actor)

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Jeffrey Totey View All

I write about pop culture, arts and entertainment in the greater Seattle area.

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