Cash Registers

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There are a number of collectors of cash registers dotted around the world.  The size and weight of these machines precludes them from being easily moved about.  generally, if you have no car but you do have a garage you can indulge yourself.

Most sellers ask that the items are collected. This makes sense as you really need to look the machine over if it is described as being seized or requiring an overhaul.  I would recommend that you think long and hard about taking on a restoration project as some machines are incredibly complex once you get the covers off.  The machine shown above is an NCR Class 100.  The shops were full of these in the 1950s/1960s but I have been unable to locate any collectors' websites.  The more ornate NCR machines from the 1900s seem to attract more attention with their brass casings and ornate design.  Buying one of these in good order can set you back many hundreds of pounds.  Something like the NCR 100 is quite a good starting block.  Removing the cover reveals quite a lot of levers, etc but they are fairly simple machines.  All they were designed to do was register a single price sale and had no cumulative counters like modern tills although they did print an audit roll and a total could be gained by moving a number of levers inside. There are many variations - pre-decimal machines are rarer. Some machines had keys that allowed sales up to £6.99. This one (pictured) only allowed sales up to £1/19/11d. A sale of, say £3 would involve the £1 key being pressed three times to enter the sale onto the audit paper. When considering a purchase, check the machine has keys included! If the machine is locked shut you have to drill out the lock which spoils the look and makes it less valuable.  In general, these machines are built like tanks and failure is usually down to it being stored in a damp garage for 30 years. A thorough re-lubrication will usually get it working again.  Pressing two keys down at the same time (say the 10p and 20p) could cause a jam but assuming they hadn't been hammered down they can usually be freed up.

The machine shown below(in a state of renovation) is an electric. Now just because it runs off 240v doesn't mean it's electronic in any way.  The juice drives the motor which turns the machine over.  There is a handle supplied in case of power cuts... This machine is a Sweda 46 - rare to find one as good as this even though they were plentiful in grocery shops in the 1960-80 period.  They allowed much more analysis of sales.  This one came from a TV shop in Brighton and featured 8 dept keys and allowed sales up to £999.99.  It printed a paper receipt and duplicated all sales on a paper roll held within the machine.  Keys allowed X/Z data to be extracted too.  They really are well made bits of machinery - many collectors of more modern machines agree they are the Rolls Royce of tills. The interlocks, etc must be seen to be believed - it makes the machine totally foolproof.  Again, these machines could be personalised to meet each shop's requirements. Some allowed multiple operators to use it, each employee being issued with a key that had to be inserted into a personalised lock before the machine would operate. Most machines only had £ keys up to £9. The model 76 had a side printer which allowed an invoice to be inserted and printed - these were used a lot in hotels.

There are many, many more machines about. Check on the operation of the keys.  Some key caps are easy to replace, others may be long out of production.  NCR spares seem more plentiful than most and the NCR was a great piece of engineering.

Sweda 46

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