By Richard Estelle, PMHA Collections Manager
The new computerized cash register in our Museum & Visitor Center Store may be able to do everything but make hot coffee, but it comes up way short of the old register in our collection for “fancy”. While our research continues into the history of this old machine, we do know that it was made by the National Cash Register Machine Company of Dayton, Ohio sometime in early 1916. Its ornate drums housing paper rolls may indicate it was built specifically for government offices requiring extraordinary documentation of transactions, rather than simply making change. In fact, we believe this particular machine did service through the 1950’s and ‘60’s in the office of Palmer’s Magistrate, Dorothy Saxton. It has setting tabs marked “TITLES”, “RECORDING”, “PAS PLATES”, & “TRK PLATES”, indicating that automobile licensing may have been an important part of the magistrate’s job.
Even though a hand crank activates some of the register functions, there’s also an electric motor integrated into the back to operate some things as well.
A total of at least seven locks control access to the machine’s various compartments. Most of the locks have an embossed number beside them corresponding to the proper numbered key that operates them. We have some of those keys, but, of course, not the key of most interest--the one that will open the long-locked cash drawer. Don’t you just wonder what might be in that old cash drawer?