About this objectThe Bennett’s cash register is a large ornate nickel plated, 4 drawer, National cash register dated from the early 1900’s. The cash register serial number is S25258 577-4 and according to an online register this dates it to 1901-1904. The cash register was manufactured by the National Cash Register Company, starting in the 1881 as National Manufacturing Company. The company is still operating today, 2020, as NCR.
The cash register was donated by Mr Reynolds . It is currently unknown when the cash register came into the collection but it is assumed from the old number system that is was during the early period of the museum. Bernard Reynolds took ownership of the Bennett Shop in 1963, followed by Maxwell Reynolds in 1969. Given the museum opened in 1965 is can be assumed the cash register may have been donated around this time and that one of these ‘Mr Reynolds’ donated it.
The Bennett’s family operated a shop at 15 and the 9 Pym Street, Millthorpe . Firstly by Walter, WJ Bennett, Newsagent/Grocer, then his son Vic from 1919, JV Bennett, General Merchant.
The shop at 9 Pym street was built in 1907 and extended in 1912 and it assumed the cash register would have been purchased during this time and not after the war period when Viv took over. From a newspaper article in 1912 at the time of the extension it states “Business being so brisk that it had to be used before the fittings were put in.” so if business was booming then the cash register may have been purchased at this time, if not prior.
An article from the Parkes Western Champion newspaper, Nov 1906, reports on a National Cash Register being installed as a “novel and a useful article. ...avoiding mistakes. …only practical system of bookkeeping that can’t go wrong. …This particular register also enables the business man to dissect his business in a very simple manner, being supplied with initial keys for that purpose, and furnishes a really up-to-date method of transacting business.”
Bennett’s were classed as an up-to-date modern business and the ornated cash register would have sat pride of place on the counter. The introduction of the cash register brought in a new era of bookkeeping and being able to balance the figures easily between departments. Leila Amos (nee Willis) worked at the Bennett store in the late 1920’s and 1930’s as bookkeeper and recalled fondly using the cash register and working at the store.
The cash register would have come to the village during its boom time when there were several general merchants operating, three hotels, several butchers and bakeries. The railway station was in it’s heyday with numerous good sheds operating along Elliott Street.
The cash register is an important permanent display item at the museum. It represents and tells the local business history of Millthorpe at the museum. In conjunction with images of the commercial streets and other business objects on display it conveys a time period of wealth and prosperity of the village.