From Cash Register to Cloud: A History of POS Systems


POS Systems Evolved from Cash Registers Like This

POS Systems: The History of an Evolving Industry

Point of sale systems (POS systems) do a tremendous job of streamlining a business and keeping proper documentation of transactions. In recent years, cloud POS has taken POS systems even further by allowing businesses to sync data from all devices to the cloud, where they can review trends from multiple locations and ensure all units run the same exact way. Modern day POS systems give managers and owners control over scheduling, ordering, specials, coupons, table wait times, and just about anything else an owner of a retail store or restaurant could possibly need. But much of this control wasn’t feasible even a short time ago. Let’s take a look at how POS systems have evolved over the years.

Humble Beginnings: the Cash Register

A bar owner by the name of James Ritty invented the cash register after he saw a machine that counted the revolutions of a ship’s propeller. For some time, he’d had a hunch that his employees were short-changing him. He invented the first cash register in 1879. The machine didn’t include a drawer for cash, but it counted and kept a record of all transactions throughout the day. Ritty named his device the Incorruptible Cashier.

The Introduction of Electricity

The first motorized POS systems came about after 1906. The National Cash Register company invented this new cash register after it had bought the rights to Ritty’s device. The electric motor allowed for shorter transaction times. It also made it easier for workers to see the recorded transactions.

By the mid-to-late 20th century, cash registers became increasingly computerized. With the invention of credit card terminals, these systems became more and more valuable. They could keep track of both credit card and cash sales, and workers could use the systems to scan barcodes. This saw the beginning of combining sales with inventory.

21st Century: Cloud POS

POS systems have evolved well beyond their original use. Sure, you can still ring up merchandise with your cloud POS, but you can do so much more. You now control almost every aspect of your business through point of sale. Keep exact counts on inventory, analyze loss prevention, manage orders, and research sales trends from one simple location. Imagine if Ritty could see his invention now!

Get Your POS Systems at HMS

When you find yourself in need of a new Cloud POS or more traditional POS systems, contact HMS and Carroll Business Systems (HMS & CBS). At HMS & CBS, we know all things point of sales, and we will gladly help you choose the right system for your business. Give us a call or contact us online today.