Looking Back on the History of POS Systems
History of POS systems
We can envision the humble beginnings of POS systems with thoughts of the Flintstones. Some sort of prehistoric bird, perhaps a pterodactyl, sits on the counter while the sales person sticks a piece of granite in its mouth. The creature bites down leaving teeth marks on the stone to complete the transaction. That analogy might be a bit extreme, but according to a 2013 article in TheTechStorm.com, we can look to ancient times and the advent of the abacus as a true launch point for modern math, and by extension POS systems. The abacus, state of the art in its time, was a simple device that featured a frame, strands of wire, and a few sliding beads.
Europeans Move the Math Ball Forward
Let’s fast forward to Scotland in the early 1600’s where a sharp mathematician named John Napier put his personal touch on the abacus, creating what he modestly called, “Napier’s Bones.” The story on TheTechStorm.com describes the device as the first practical calculator capable of multiplication, division, and finding roots. Other inventors made changes and improvements to Napier’s Bones, but the technology remained mostly unchanged for the next 200 years or so.
The First Real Calculator arrives in 1820
The first commercial calculator called the “Arithmometer” was invented by Charles Xavier Thomas according to Britannica.com. And no, he wasn’t one of the original X-Men. The Arithmometer was the first mass-produced calculating machine and was a popular choice for the next 90 years. Technological advances to the calculator allowed for the next big leap in the evolution of the POS system. In 1883 the first cash register designed by James Ritty and distributed by “The National Cash Register Company” hit the market and revolutionized the way business was done.
The 70’s – Long Hair, Bell Bottoms, and a Big Leap in POS Development
The 70’s gave us great music, questionable fashions, and the missing link that launched POS systems as we know them today. In 1973 IBM produced the IBM store system featuring the 3650 and 3660 models. These machines were basically a mainframe computer that could integrate with its IBM point of sale cash registers according to Wikipedia. In 1974 the first microprocessor-controlled cash register system powered by the Intel 8008 (a very early microprocessor) came online at McDonald’s Restaurants, and the food, retail, grocery and bar industries never looked back.
Revel Sets the Industry Standard in iPad POS
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