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 the first mechanical cash register in 1883. It was called Ritty’s Incorruptible Cashier.
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.
Through the years, receipt printers were added and in the ’70s electronic displays started to be used. In the 80’s and 90’s, the cashiers became POS (Point of Sales) or POP (Point of Purchase) which are basically computers with a cash drawer. The POS is the point at which a customer makes a payment to the merchant in exchange for goods or after provision of a service. At the point of sale, the merchant would prepare an invoice for the customer (which may be a cash register printout) or otherwise calculate the amount owed by the customer and provide options for the customer to make payment such as cash, credit or debit. After receiving payment, the merchant will also normally issue a receipt for the transaction.
The POS in various retail situations would use customized hardware and software tailored to their particular requirements. Retailers may utilize weighing scales, scanners, electronic and manual cash registers, EFTPOS terminals, touch screens and a variety of other hardware and software available.
Additionally, today POS software may include additional features to cater for different functionalities, such as inventory management, CRM, and financials. However in the last 10 years, POS have remained very similar from one vendor to another and only the physical aspect of it has been going through an evolution.
Today new POS systems are based on Tablet PCs or similar devices rather than bulky computers and (to the best of our knowledge) few companies have addressed the application of POS itself.