Today in 1879, James Jacob Ritty received a patent for an invention that changed the way we buy and sell things: the cash register.


The original name of his device was “Ritty’s Incorruptible Cashier.”

“Incorruptible” is the key word here.

As WIRED Magazine reported, Ritty owned a bar in Dayton, Ohio, and he was convinced some of the establishment’s cash was going into his bartenders’ pockets instead of his.

He asked his brother, a mechanic, to help him find a solution, and they mostly did.

The Incorruptible Cashier could record the cash amount for each transaction so the bar owner could settle up at the end of the day and make sure there was the right amount of money in the box.

Ritty started a company to make and sell cash registers, but sold it a few years later and returned to the bar business.

Under new ownership, that company became National Cash Register Company, known today as NCR, a huge firm.

Though it’s still possible for a nefarious bartender to simply bypass the cash register entirely to carry out a scheme.

If that happens, maybe it’ll be up to you to stop them.


Meanwhile in South Korea, a professor at Hanyang University was giving a remote class that was supposed to be audio-only – except he accidentally turned his camera on, revealing he was taking a bath during his lecture.

The professor said he’d just gotten vaccinated and the bath helped with the side effects, but he promised not to do it again.

The Korea Times reported, “The professor told the school that he had never given a lecture while in the bath previously.”

Nov. 4, 1879: Ka-Ching! The World’s First Cash Register (WIRED)

Professor holds online class while in bathtub (Korea Times)

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Photo by J E Theriot via Flickr/Creative Commons