Saturday, May 7, 2016

Antique National Cash Register

This morning my neighborhood held its annual garage sale.
Hoping to distract me, my husband volunteered to take me to the local farmers' market.

It was a good plan.
But perhaps we both underestimated my awesome-junk-treasure-finding sensors.

As we buzzed down the street lined with driveways filled with suburban discards in our mad dash to escape temptation, a feeling came over me. 
As if being pulled by some magnetic force, I turned at just the right time to see a flash of metal. 
Old metal. Something special I was certain.

"Stop!" I exclaimed.
"For what? It's all just a bunch of junk. We don't need ANYTHING. Your words; not mine," he reminded me.
"Yes, yes, I know....but, just stop. Please."

And so he did.
And this is why.

It was sitting atop a dolly parked on the front sidewalk, visible only through the space between two parked cars. But I saw it. 
I jumped out of the car and headed directly to the seller. 

"How much for the old cash register?" I asked directly.
She named the price; I offered five bucks less.
She accepted.
We shook on it. 
Done deal.

Now don't be so quick to judge.  I know this looks like a dirty, hunk of junk, but take a closer look...

This my friends, is an antique National cash register!
A little worse for wear, but it had potential.

The seller graciously held the register while my husband and I headed to the bank for cash.
Okay...well... actually my husband went to the bank while I walked home. There were a couple other places I wanted to stop.

About an hour later the register was safely in the garage atop the work bench ready for my cleaning.

I began by wiping the entire machine down with a warm soapy rag. 
I then removed the cover plates and cleaned away years of dust, gunk and grime.
An old toothbrush, a soft bristled paint brush, and a blow dryer work wonders at getting into cracks and crevices to remove dust and debris.

Such satisfaction is felt after I've cleaned an old relic and the intricate handiwork of a master engineer and craftsman is revealed! The mechanics of old machines never cease to amaze and delight me. 

I finished up by giving the machine a thorough oiling. Though most of the large levers don't work, many of the smaller gears and cogs moved beautifully.

One of my hopes was to get the drawer to open. I allowed myself to indulge in some idle fancy imagining myself to be a safe cracker from days gone by. What might this drawer contain?
 It took a bit of poking around and some good old trial and error, but I found the release pin, and....
PING! it opened right up!
Though empty of cash or treasure, the drawer did have some important screws for the machine hidden among dead bugs, dirt, and a bit of mouse poo.

But OH! how nicely it cleaned up.
Just get a load of that SPRING!
The drawer alone is simply delightful!

The bottom of the cash drawer still had the original product information on it!
I can't wait to research!

After reassembling the front metal plate, the marble ledge, the top, and the glass shield, the cash register looks AMAZING!


Here she is all assembled.  Note the key in the top.

The key sits next to the customer counter. 

The dollar counter shows in a second window.

There are many keyholes in this machine. I can't help but think that if I had these other keys, I might be able to unlock the mechanisms to get the machine working again.

There are several lovely little price signs that are hidden under, and behind, this yummy red metal guard. They pop up behind a plate of glass when the corresponding level is pushed. Can you see them peeking through?

All cleaned up and reassembled. Isn't she lovely!

Just look at the beautiful back of the register!  The embellishment is simply gorgeous!

We moved the machine into the house.
I happened to have the perfect spot for it...

right atop the old sewing machine cabinet covered in pennies!

I cannot wait to research this wonderful find and to see about searching for its missing parts.
Even if I never find them, I'll treasure this relic forever.

All photos taken by Paulette Rodriguez.


  1. You are a wonderwoman, bringing that back to life in one afternoon! Well worth the stop.

  2. It's a labor of love and a fanatic obsession!

  3. Wow it's gorgeous! Please update us if and when you get more information about its background.


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