A cash register, also referred to as a till in the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth countries, is a mechanical or electronic device for registering and calculating transactions. It is usually attached to a drawer for storing cash and other valuables. The cash register is also usually attached to a printer, that can print out receipts for record keeping purposes.
An early mechanical cash register was invented by James Ritty and John Birch following the American Civil War. James was the owner of a saloon in Dayton, Ohio, USA, and wanted to stop employees from pilfering his profits. The Ritty Model I was invented in 1879 after seeing a tool that counted the revolutions of the propeller on a steamship. With the help of James' brother John Ritty, they patented it in 1883. It was called Ritty's Incorruptible Cashier and it was invented for the purpose to stop cashiers of pilfering and eliminating employee theft or embezzlement.
Early mechanical registers were entirely mechanical, without receipts. The employee was required to ring up every transaction on the register, and when the total key was pushed, the drawer opened and a bell would ring, alerting the manager to a sale taking place. Those original machines were nothing but simple adding machines.
Source: Cash register from Wikipedia
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