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The Machine That Kept Them Honest

April 2024
19min read

J. H. Patterson, the first supersalesman, put his cash register in every emporium and banished itchy fingers from the till

The machine was the cash register. The clangor of its bell fell pleasantly upon the car, whether activated by dollars and cents, pounds and pence, francs, marks, florins, lire, pesetas, or pesos.

The man behind the bell was an Ohio farm boy who promoted a novel counting device of wheels and springs grandly encased in an ornate bronze or nickel sheath. When a clerk pressed a key the machine gave out with its joyous tintinnabulation. In the beginning no one had heard of the cash register. But John Henry Patterson changed all that. To do it he had to invent American Salesmanship.

John H. Patterson was a not-so-young hustler lightly endowed with this world’s goods when in iSS^ he offered $0,500 for the controlling interest in an obscure little factory in Slidertown—a slum area of Dayton, Ohio—which manufactured the new machine that was to make the open cash drawer obsolete. Dayton laughed so hard that Patterson panicked and tried, unsuccessfully, to back out of the deal, it was too late. The seller confided that lie wouldn’t take the stock as a gift. Hut Patterson’s fortune was as good as made, and the story of selling had to be rewritten. What the small, sandy-haired, intense promoter did with the cash register made entrepreneurial history; and the tales told of the man himself will be repeated, with no embellishment needed, as long as men wearing name tags convene to learn how to sell widgets, or management types gather at country clubs to relax at the nineteenth hole. Patterson’s solid achievements, his impressive list of business “firsts,” are enough to secure him a hiirh and endurinsi ulace in mercantile history.

The Autocrat of the Cash Register was horn in 1844 of pioneer stock on the family farm near Dayton. He attended the lotal schools, spent a year at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and was graduated from Dartmouth College. There he acquired, Patterson often remarked, much useless knowledge. His prejudice against higher education lasted through the rest of his idiosyncratic life. After college, Patterson worked on his father’s farm, later became a toll collector on the Miami and Erie Canal, and still later, witli his two brothers, ran a coal yard, developed coal and iron mines in Jackson County, Ohio, and was for several years the general manager for the Southern Coal and Iron Company at Coalton, Ohio.

The Southern operated a company store. Instead of turning in a profit of $12,000, which the books said it should, the store was actually losing $6,000 a year because, Patterson discovered, his clerks were dishonest. At this point he read that James S. Ritty, a Dayton saloonkeeper with similar problems, and his mechanically minded brother, John, had invented a contraption that tabulated sales as they were made and registered them publicly. In order to open the cash drawer and make change, the clerk was compelled to ring up the sale. The bell on the device—at the time Patterson heard about the register, it gave out a loud bong —forced him to deposit the money received. In sum, the magic money box provided publicity, protection, and compulsory morality.

The cash register was expensive, costing all of fifty dollars. But Patterson, even though he had probably never seen one, promptly telegraphed for two. At the time there were only about a dozen in use, under the name “Kitty’s Incorruptible Cashier.” With the introduction of the new machines the profit picture at Kitty’s oasis in Dayton brightened, and John H. Pat- terson’s store also moved into the black. The Patterson brothers immediately purchased a block of cash register stock—this was in 1882—and two years later, with John H. in the lead, acquired control of the business and soon changed the name to National Cash Register Company.

Thus, at the age of forty, with no manufacturing experience and little capital, Patterson started in to build a business upon an article almost no one wanted or knew how to use. Known as a “thief catcher,” the device aroused such fury among bartenders and café cashiers that a travelling man who was handling another item, say sewing machines, found it prudent when entering a drinking parlor to say loudly and distinctly that he was not associated with the N.C.R.

The man in absolute control of that company—”the Cash” it came to be called in Dayton—was small, wiry, a natty dresser; he had penetrating gray eyes, a florid complexion, luxuriant white handlebar mustaches, and a quick mind untrammelled by convention. Patterson quickly improved the cash register, took out several patents in his own name, introduced a system of quality control, and turned his attention to the problems of advertising and selling.

The important businessmen of the time were converters of raw materials, railroad presidents, and hardshelled merchants who had survived the panic of ’73. Advertising by and large consisted of drab announcements. Selling was glad-handing, a matter of exploiting a genial personality that attracted a following in “the trade.” Look the part. Sell yourself and you sell your product. Manufacturing was getting men to work for as little as possible. Card indices, filing systems, and duplicating machines had not been heard of.

Into this traditional business environment Patterson introduced several startling new concepts. He began by building (with borrowed money) a model plant on the old family farm. It was a revolutionary concept in industrial architecture, a “daylight” building with eighty per cent of its walls made of glass and with ampélopsis climbing up the brickwork; the grounds were landscaped and dotted with flower beds. Inside, the revolution was just as complete. There were lockers and showers, swimming pools and other recreational facilities, hot lunches, medical care, and inspirational lectures to give wings to the mind.

These pioneering efforts in industrial welfare—and the high rate of pay at “the Cash”—attracted so much attention locally, nationally, and even internationally that Patterson, who explained gruffly, “It pays,” hung a sign by his office door: “Be Brief—Omit All Compliments About Welfare Work.”

In exchange for his unusual attentions to the N.C.R. employees, Patterson exacted absolute obedience and a high rate of productivity. In a day when good management meant cost-cutting, Patterson took the opposite tack—the way to make money, lie believed, was to spend it. Secrecy, too, was highly regarded as a competitive weapon. But Patterson welcomed visitors to his plant and even wined and dined—no, just dined- competitors and would-be competitors. He inevitably showed them “the Gloom Room,” where they were urged to gaxe upon piles and piles of rusty registers, the products of bankrupt companies that couldn’t stand the pace set by National. It was unforgettable evidence of the folly of bucking John H. Patterson.

Patterson soon demonstrated his native flair for showmanship. One day when he was escorting some friends through the factory, he stopped before a shiny new register that had been checked out for shipment. He started to point out the model s special features. One key stuck. Another wouldn’t depress. Patterson reached for a hammer and reduced the register to a mass of junk.

“That is how we take care of faulty machines,” he said casually.

But the glory of N.C.R. was what Patterson called “the American Selling Force.” With nothing in hand but the legal right to make a mechanism for which there was no demand, but with an almost apocalyptic vision of a universal market of prospective purchasers who needed a cash register and didn t know it, Patterson put together the most aggressive corps of salesmen the world had ever seen. He argued witli his men, coaxed and criticized, often lashed them with biting sarcasm, preached and exhorted. He supported the Force with aggressive advertising, and tried to generate in each man an incentive equal to religion’s fear of damnation and hope of salvation. It was the missionary spirit of spreading the gospel to the heathen, hooked up with American boosterism.

A man who looked like a comer was often taken by Patterson to New York at company expense to stay at a luxury hotel, get measured for a good suit, visit the finest hatters and custom shirt shops, see a couple of shows, and generally, in Patterson’s words, “get the hayseed off him.” A taste of the Heshpots, Patterson figured, was a sure-fire way to spark the imagination of a good man who would like to have a new davenport and join the local country-club set. Patterson introduced the idea of the guaranteed territory and paid straight commissions on which a man could really make money. Refusing to follow the common practice of the times, he did not cut back the commissions when business was good. “If you can sell a million dollars in a week,” he declared expansively, “we’ll hire a brass band to take your commission to you.”

The idea of the sacrosanct commission took hold slowly. Years afterward Thomas J. Watson, brilliant leader of the International Business Machines Corporation and a member of the distinguished body of Patterson alumni, remembered how back home in Painted Post, New York, when a local man boasted that he had made thirty dollars selling a cash register, he was deemed to be the biggest liar in the Cohocton River valley.

One of Patterson’s early formulations now regarded as an invaluable business tool was the establishing of sales quotas, based upon an objective analysis of potential opportunity in a territory. The quota system ironed out the inequities, applied the same measure to all salesmen, meant the same thing in Portland, Oregon, as in Utica, New York, in Indianapolis as in Bangkok.

Among the new concepts Patterson introduced was the standardized sales talk, codified into a revolutionary document known as the N.C.R. Primer . At first the use of the new method of selling was merely recommended. Later it became compulsory. Patterson never justified it from any theoretical standpoint. He didn’t need to: the men who followed the Primer sold more registers and earned fatter commissions than those who stuck to personality selling. From this pioneering effort emerged the first sales manual. It brought together all the objections and excuses which had ever been advanced for not buying a cash register. A training school soon followed, later elaborated into conferences and conventions with intracompany competitions that provided rewards and distinctions for the fortunate winners. There were company songs, bunting, and banners. A Patterson sales convention was a Rotarian gala, the atmosphere one of emotion touched with grandeur. Part circus, part chautauqua, it resembled a church revival except that there was never any letdown. Early in each year, flags were flung to the breeze over the home office when the first salesman made his quota. The annual Sales Derby was on!

The men who survived Patterson’s schooling came out casehardened and wily. They never simply sold a piece of machinery; rather, they promoted a business function. It was the principle later expressed by Elmer Wheeler, inspirational lecturer sometimes called “America’s Number i Salesman,” in the memorable slogan: Don’t sell the steak, sell the sizzle . Patterson’s men were forbidden to carry screw drivers, lest they become diverted into service work. Nor were they encouraged to become more than casually conversant with the innards of the machine they sold, although in the cash register field it was useful to have a working knowledge of a competitive register so as to be able, on occasion, to put it out of commission.

“I have called to interest you in a way to increase your profits,” the polite N.C.R. man would say. He was itching for an argument, never happier than when the prospect, known in Patterson’s lexicon as the “P.P.” (Probable Purchaser), raised such childish and moth-eaten objections as:

I don’t need one. Times are hard. I can’t spare the money. My present system is satisfactory. You make too great a profit.

The next step was to entangle the P.P. in a net of admissions about his losses on cash sales, credit sales, cash received on account, cash paid out, and charging money as an accommodation . Healthy, shaved, with clean linen and no cigar, his blue serge suit well brushed, the N.C.R. agent staged his demonstration outside the store—usually in a sample room at the best hotel in town—with such theatrical trappings as curtains painted to represent a store interior. There were large business charts and diagrams. Real merchandise and real money were used to heighten the dramatic impact. The P.P. was comfortably seated, and there were no distractions in the room such as a clock, which might suggest that he had better be getting back to the store, or a calendar, a possible reminder that he had a note coming due at the bank.

The closing of a sale was as stylized as a Japanese kabuki play. When the salesman had the prospect sagging on the ropes he was too much the artist to ask crudely lor the order; instead, he moved on smoothly to, “Now, Mr. Brown, what color shall I make it?” Or, “How soon do you want delivery?” If the store owner drew back, the N.C.R. man prepared him once more for signature, gently urging him up to the mark again, pen at the ready—“Just sign here.” With the ceremonial signing went a twenty-five-cent cigar and the ego-boosting assurance that the customer had proved he was a real live wire as a businessman. Nor was that the end of the relationship between the purchaser and the company. The N.C.R. man was already making a note of the date when the register would be obsolescent and should be traded in on a new, improved model, for it was one of the most attractive discoveries made in the early days of specialty selling that the customer who had been knocked over once could be upgraded later.

Patterson scoffed at the going idea that salesmen were born. Not N.C.R. salesmen, he vowed. They were made—by the head man, who often played storekeeper with them in this wise: “Good morning,” the president of N.C.R. would say mildly to a sweating member of the Selling Force. “I have a drugstore down the street. Will you kindly explain the cash register to me?” If the salesman was quick, verbalized well, or was just lucky that morning, Patterson might give an occasional grunt, his most demonstrative expression of appreciation. More often he jumped up in the middle of the pitch, grabbed a piece of red chalk, and scrawled on the easel pad which always stood handy, “ROTTEN!” Before the merciless examination was over, some men faltered, some blacked out. And some just plain quit.

But by about 1910, the Cash was doing ninety per cent of the cash register business. The U.S. Department of Justice thought this was a very high penetration of the market. But the pebble in Patterson’s shoe was that other ten per cent. He could not honestly see a legitimate reason for any cash register to be sold except the National.

John H. Patterson loved to instruct. And he was a convinced eye-minded man. “Visuali/e! Analyze! Dramatize!” he urged, and installed in his offices hundreds of blackboards and pedestals bearing pads of coarse paper three feet long by two feet wide for jotting down problems or plans. Sometimes he drew pictographs, and he liked others to do the same. It wasn’t enough to say “cow.” At the Cash, one had to draw the cow.

“The optic nerve is twenty-two times stronger than the auditory nerve,” the boss of N.C.R. declared as he made a quick chalk talk or scribbled THINK on the sheet. This cabalistic word was, incidentally, the inspiration of the kinetic Thomas J. Watson, who started out in the world selling pianos, organs, and sewing machines from a bright yellow democrat wagon. Watson got his postgraduate training in Patterson’s University of Hard Knocks and went on to transform a faltering combination called the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company into the fabulous International Business Machines Corporation.

To Patterson the number five was what seven was to the ancients, a digit endowed with occult power. Significantly, he thought, man has five senses, five fingers, five toes. There were five steps to making a sales pitch. Every problem, Patterson saw, had five parts. The figure was woven into the very fabric of the National Cash Register Company. In 1920, at the end of his life, filled with eagerness to see the League of Nations succeed, Patterson went to Geneva, studied the structure of the world organization, got out the old N.C.R. textbook, and charted the purposes of the League- under, of course, five headings.

The center of Patterson’s training of his male employees was the N.C.R. Hall of Industrial Education, or the Schoolhouse, where salesmen and agents sometimes acted out little allegorical dramas resembling the old miracle plays with which the Church taught its children in the Middle Ages. An example: men on crutches, others with bandaged arms or legs or eyes, attempted to climb steps toward a bag with a dollar sign on it hanging over the stage. But they could not reach it. Other men emerged from a replica of the Schoolhouse carrying additional steps marked “Uses Advertising Matter,” or “Cuts out Cigarettes.” With these aids they successfully reached the bag and gave it a mighty wallop; out showered salary checks and special cash prizes.

The female counterpart of the Hall of Education was the Vacation House, where women employees gathered to learn about the menace of the housefly and were taught how to manage their homes. And frequently little N.C.R. children were herded into one of the buildings to learn how to save their money, how to masticate their food, and how coughing and snee/ing scattered germs. All this they endured patiently, knowing that later there would be cookies and a movie about Indians. To an extraordinary degree, Patterson regarded the company’s assets, human as well as material, as a simple extension of his own personality. Indeed, Patterson took the whole city as a part of his demesne, even at one time exhorting the clergy to drop the Scriptures in favor of his own pet causes—landscape gardening, the city-manager form of municipal government, and the proper care of the teeth.

Some of Patterson’s utterances sound trite today, such as his call for “Head-Power, Hand-Power, HeartPower”; or this one: “By Hammer and Hand All Arts Do Stand.” Maybe they sounded that way when he said them. But those who entertained such a heretical attitude were quickly rinsed out of N.C.R.’s hair. Patterson was a great man for signs that expressed the little truisms in which he placed great faith. “It Pays” appeared on walls all through the N.C.R. buildings. He painted “We Progress Through Change” on a tall factory chimney, put cards on every office desk saying “Do it Now” and “Verbal Orders Don’t Go.”

Patterson was always open-minded, and sometimes credulous, when he encountered a theory that was apparently based upon scientific or quasi-scientific premises. He became interested, for example, in the study of business cycles long before most businessmen had ever heard of the concept, and believed that the price of pig iron was a clue to a certain periodicity in business trends. Scientific or not, it is a fact that Patterson was getting ready for a storm long before the depression of 1893 arrived. When it came he “had his fighting clothes on”: he made the panic year one of the brightest the company had experienced, successfully selling, in those shaky days, a $350 model.

The vegetarian dietary ideas that were disseminated from the Battle Creek Sanitarium in Michigan by another skillful publicist, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, attracted Patterson’s favorable attention. He often journeyed to Battle Creek when he felt the onset of managerial fatigue. As the Dayton Daily News said, he was “more than strong for all that Battle Creek stuff.” During a trip abroad to expand the N.C.R. business in Europe, Patterson met Horace Fletcher, a health faddist who also had Battle Creek associations. Fletcher was a eupeptic millionaire who had passed through New Thought and Yoga, had once lived for fifty-eight days on potatoes, and was then propagandizing for a physiological regimen known as “Fletcherism.” Fletcher believed that people ought to eat less and that the more one chews the less he needs to eat. He dramatized his ideas by prescribing that his followers chew every bite thirty-two times—one chew for each tooth in man’s normal complement.

Patterson was fascinated. He plunged into a thirtyseven-day fast which left him so weak that he turned to Sandow in London, then known as “The Strongest Man in the World,” to build him up again. When Patterson returned to Dayton, he brought with him a cockney trainer, or rubber, from Sandow’s entourage, a wizened little man named Charles Palmer who claimed to have an extraordinary ability to read human character. This odd-ball gym attendant established an almost hypnotic ascendancy over the cash register millionaire and interfered in company affairs, causing many resignations and dismissals.

Charles Palmer hated Dayton. While under Palmer’s influence and at a time when he was displeased with the city government, Patterson put together a bitter indictment of the city and announced that the N.C.R. was pulling out. Meanwhile, under Palmer’s direction, butter, eggs, salt, and pepper disappeared from the officers’ dining room. Even the sacred American Selling Force was not immune to the new regimen. The men were ordered to cut out coffee, tea, and cigars when they were assembled at the home office. Executives obediently drank bottled water, did their calisthenics, and turned out at dawn for horseback riding. Many of them had never been on a horse before. Naturally, the N.C.R. official family became known as “The N.C.R. Rough Riders.” The Horse Period was regarded as one of Patterson’s more hilarious antics. But for one family it spelled tragedy when the bread- winner, a company official, was thrown and killed. Patterson brought a series of libel suits against the Dayton Daily News when it raised its voice in protest against his eccentric mania for the diminutive English chap. Patterson huffed and puffed but backed down when the News began to take depositions. Palmer wore out his welcome and failed to return after a European sojourn. Patterson soon relented in his attitude toward Dayton, later instituted many generous and far-sighted projects for community betterment, including in particular his dream that aviation research might be centralized at Dayton, where the Wrights were born. And Dayton remembers. There is a Patterson Boulevard, the great Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, linking the names of three famous Daytonians, and on parkland he gave to the city there is a heroic statue of Patterson. He is, of course, on a horse.

Over the years, the exodus of able men trained in the N.C.R. methods became legendary. Among the names of prominent alumni appear those of men who later became notable in other fields, such as the already mentioned Thomas J. Watson of I.B.M. and Hugh Chalmers, Edward S. Jordan, Alvan Macauley, Richard H. Grant, and C. F. (“Boss”) Kettering of the automotive industry. At one time Patterson developed the habit of cleaning out his executives’ desks and burning all the personal contents, even to the family portraits, on the theory that an executive should start fresh every so often. When a man began to look indispensable, he was as good as dead. In his deceptively meek manner Patterson would stutter, if disagreement developed, “Well, well, well, you ought to know best.” But old hands knew it was the beginning of the end.

Once the president asked a foreman if he was satisfied with the work in his department. He said he was.

“All right,” snapped Patterson, “you’re fired.”

In his last decade the founder was plagued with some of the penalties of leadership. The N.C.R. was charged with unfair competition in a Michigan state court by the American Cash Register Company, an old rival, which produced damaging testimony from a defecting N.C.R. agent. There were claims and counterclaims of harassment, industrial espionage, pirating, and bribery. Some of the battles became actual fist fights in the P.P.’s store. The verdict in this case was adverse to Patterson. At approximately the same time —in the U.S. District Court of Southern Ohio—the federal government brought suit against the president and twenty-nine other officials of the company for criminal and civil violations of the Sherman Antitrust Act. During the proceedings the court heard some of the uninhibited words Patterson had used in the old days, such as:

“The best way to kill a dog is to cut off his head.”

“We do not buy out. We knock out.”

Charges were aired of sabotage, industrial spying, payoffs, and harassment through patent litigation.

In 1913 the defendants were adjudged guilty and received jail sentences and fines of varying amounts. Patterson drew a fine of !5,000 and a year in the county jail at Troy. The verdict was appealed, of course. But before the Court of Appeals had handed down its decision, John H. Patterson had the chance to become a national hero.

On Tuesday, March 25, 1913, came the Dayton Flood. The city stood under six to eighteen feet of water. One hundred million dollars’ worth of property was destroyed, and 90,000 people were made homeless. With his unconquerable spirit and the material resources he provided, Patterson saved the city. Crayon in hand, he quickly outlined a relief plan on his handy easel pad. Food, tents, medicines, and hospital equipment were moved to the N.C.R. property, which fortunately stood on high ground and had its own power plant. Company bakers started baking bread around the clock, and the assembly line at N.C.R. soon was turning out rowboats—one every seven minutes. Thousands of Daytonians were fed at the N.C.R. cafeteria, slept on hay in the offices (the hay was changed every night), drank bottled water out of mandatory paper cups that Patterson provided, and wore the heavy woolen stockings he prescribed for them. Five babies were born in the factory in one day alone. This explains why “Cash” can really be a man’s name. Newspaper reporters, never neglected by Patterson, enjoyed free room and board on the top floor of the administration building, with such amenities available as pinochle cards and ewers of whiskey which were described for Patterson’s benefit as “pop.” One legend placed Patterson himself, at the age of sixty-five and then under a jail sentence, at the end of a tow line at Main and Apple streets, waist-deep in the swirling waters. Dayton needed a hero and Patterson had a legitimate claim to the role.

Miss Evangeline Cary Booth, commander in chief of the Salvation Army, announced that John H. Patterson was the instrument of the Lord and would be rewarded. And so he was. The United States Court of Appeals reversed the decision of the lower court, largely on the ground that the National Cash Register Company had been denied the right to show that its actions in the old, bad days were the consequence of patent infringements and other destructive practices by the rascally “opposition.” One competitor had ridiculed N.C.R. improvements as “ornamental jimcracks which cumber the machine and add little to its value but serve as an excuse for exorbitant prices.” Another had unkindly distributed a circular entitled Fourteen Ways of Beating the National Cash Register , which listed ways to manipulate the Cash’s machines so as to prove them inaccurate. The Supreme Court refused to consider the case, which meant that the decision of the Court of Appeals stood. To celebrate the triumph of justice twenty thousand Daytonians formed a victory parade with flags and brass bands.

The last sales conference conducted under Patterson’s eye was held in January, 1922, to honor the men who had “helped to keep the smokestacks smoking” during the recession of 1921. The agents and salesmen who had bettered their quotas got three days of inspiration and elevation in Dayton, then boarded a fourteen-car all-Pullman train for three exhilarating days in New York. The picked men thrilled to the N.C.R. chorus that welcomed them at Dayton with the Soldiers’ Chorus from Faust. In response, they rose to their feet in roaring tribute to the bouncy Founder.

“With depression you went to the mat,” said H. G. Sisson of the Publicity Department, as he recited a poem of his own composition:

You were there on the spot where the fighting was hot, And you won where the weaker men failed. Though you may have been jarred when the sledding grew hard And your arguments seemed to be spent; Why, you simply began on the old selling plan And you finished one hundred per cent.

Then the chevaliers of the N.C.R. Legion of Honor got the message for the next year. There was a door leading into 1922. Turn the knob and find Opportunity; remember such Patterson aphorisms as “Analyze —don’t antagonize,” “Every time you sell a merchant a National Cash Register you are doing him a big favor,” and “Stay five minutes longer.” There was the mass photograph on the steps of the Schoolhouse and the comradely fraternizing with the factory workers.

When the time came for the Hundred Per Cent Club to entrain for New York, Dayton put aside its ordinary preoccupations. On signal from the factory whistle, the men and women of N.C.R. formed eight abreast in a column a mile long, and then with flags flying, bands blaring, and symbolical floats, they paraded to the Union Station singing special lyrics arranged to the tune of “Marching Through Georgia.” Patterson revelled in the convention, but for him time was running out. He died suddenly on his way to Atlantic City in May, at seventy-seven years of age. Just two days before, he had gone over plans with General William (“Billy”) Mitchell, Assistant Chief of Air Service, for the development of Dayton as a great center for aviation research.

The company that Patterson created literally out of nothing has grown enormously; its last reported gross annual sales figure was a whopping $736,849,000, against $29,000,000 in the last year of Patterson’s life. It has also become highly diversified, producing, in addition to cash registers, accounting machines, posting machines, and electronic data-processing systems.

The policies of the Cash are now far different from those of the unpredictable autocrat of its pioneering decades. But the heritage of a unique tradition remains. It is a tradition that links the gaslight era of Prince Albert coats and high collars, of wooden Indians and handwritten letters, with the business world of today, the world of the typewriter and the fountain pen, the duplicating machine and the calculating machine, and, of course, the world of the cash register. This tradition places N.C.R. in the main stream of American business development.

Patterson showed the way to introduce not only “big ticket” merchandise like washing machines and refrigerators, but all products that require sampling and demonstration. To every doorbell ringer of the 2,700 companies whose salesmen make five million calls on every working day, to every bright, cheery, happy, polite, top-notch producer who ever made the Fine and Dandy Club of the Fuller Brush Company, or the Hoover vacuum cleaner Hall of Fame, some of Patterson’s shrewd, practical psychology has been passed down. And every executive who has ever made a presentation, talked with the assistance of a slide projector, or handled a flip chart is an heir of the crotchety old man at N.C.R. with his blazing eyes, his scratch pads, his slogans, his food fads—and his touch of genius.

We cannot forbear to shave with our readers this little masterpiece of sentiment, a booklet put out by “the Cash” in 1909. It illustrates with a tale of unalloyed bathos the point that purchase of a cash register is good not only for one’s business but also for the moral well-being of one’s employment.

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