Data Terminal Systems: Info Needed.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by REED SAXON/AP/REX/Shutterstock (6599574a) Kupferman Horowitz Lyn Kupferman, right, and her friend Shiela Horowitz wait as a Tower Records clerk rings up the purchase of over $200 in Beatles and John Lennon albums, in Los Angeles JOHN LENNON SHOT 1980, LOS ANGELES, USA

The cashier above is using a cash register made by Data Terminal Systems of Maynard, Massachusetts. The best I can tell, it’s either a Series 300 or Series 400 cash register. I am looking for any information I can get my hands on for these two series of registers by DTS. If you have any receipts, documentation, photos, anything, it would be most welcome.

There is very little information on the Internet about Data Terminal Systems, even though they were one of the first electronic cash register companies in the world and their technology was everywhere, especially in the 1970s and 1980s.

I’d like to get as much information about Data Terminal Systems online as possible, before it’s all lost to forgotten history.


  1. For about six months in 1982-83, I worked for DTS Australia as a support tech. Customer base was mainly: KFC, Red Rooster (scored lots of free chicken meals), some petrol (gas) stations and 2nd-tier supermarkets (eg Half Case Warehouse). Programming macros was one aspect of the software side. And I recall that setting the two keys into the X & P positions and simultaneously pressing CLEAR @ % LINE FEED would wipe the machine. In early ’83 there was a merger with National Semiconductor. I was a poor fit in the client-facing tech role; and the cross-training for the N.S. equipment was inadequate, so I left. Nevertheless, the (rare) photos make me very nostalgic. Trivia – In ~1986, a former DTS colleague was shot dead by a farmer while holidaying in France. RIP Gerry.

  2. What POS pre-1982 would have black keys, “ITEM” “PRICE” and “QTY” keys (also in black) and a 10 alphanumeric characters vfd display? I’m trying to identify a prop from a TV show.


    1. Hello Andrea, this could have been a myriad of machines, but we can rule out DTS, NCR, IBM, and Datachecker, as they had multicolored keys. The 10-character alphanumeric display is throwing me off; I’m wondering if it was a Sweda machine. Do you have a photo?

      1. You can’t rule out DTS as sone of the older machines had black keys for those symbols. I work for one of the largest DTS dealers in the US. It was one of the very 1st DTS dealers in the US. I worked there 1979-1998. I worked on every DTS POS made.

  3. Hello,

    My daughter sparked this in my head today asking about buying her a cash register so she could play with it. I haven’t thought about this in about 30 years, and I couldn’t remember the brand of register that my dad used to work on in the 80s and 90s, but after some research tonight, I re-stumbled on DTS.

    Dad, years ago, used to work for Harvey’s Supermarkets, a chain of regional grocery stores in North Florida and South Georgia. In the mid- to late-80s and early 90s, they ran DTS Model 400s. I would go with him to store openings to install or on weekends when he’d get a support call. We’d also have one or two at the house so that he could quickly drive and replace one when there was an urgent need.

    I always wanted one when I was a kid to learn how to program them. I spent so much time around them, played with them, and heard them running through their night close processes on many nights when we were at the stores that I can almost hear the sound of the receipt tape printing still in my head to this day. Dad also wrote programs for Back Office operations in Clipper that would interface with the registers to aggregate the data collected from the registers all day so the Store Managers could analyze sales and inventory.

    I found a few great pictures of one here on Pinterest:

  4. Data Terminal Systems was from Maynard, Mass. The first registers produced was the DTS 100 (small, all in one style case/cash drawer assembly like the 200 Series) Their larger register was a clunky thing that had a separate power supply unit. It was called a “DaCap Model 44. It used the Seiko printer that used the 44mm register tape. If you purchased that tape back then, You asked for Dacap 44 tape! DTS was purchased buy National Semiconductor in the mid 80’s, and was called DataChecker/ DTS.
    the last system I sold was a Model 2100. I believe Texas Instruments purchased National Semi, and they got out of POS.

    1. Do you have pictures or the DTS or the futher future registers? Shoppers Drug Mart in Canada used the DataChecker models that had keys which were coloured. A rather redundant looking machine, but apparently they worked well

    2. The first DTS was the model 44 as you mentioned
      It was intent as a fast food register, I sold the 5th. One produced to a hot dog stand (15 cent hot dogs) Bob Collings personally delivered & helped with yhe install. The next was model 42 (general merchandise) followed by either model 100 or 300 (319 supermarket model).
      The next was 400 series consisting of the 400, 440, & 445. We probably sold a couple thousand 440s & 445s.
      The model 510 came out in about 1977 followed by 515( had macro programming), 520, 540, 545, 546, 550 & 570. I had 1 customer (regional supermarket) with 1,600 lanes of 545 scan system with scales., I interfaced the 545s with credit card readers so the 1,600 lanes had on line debit/credit & positive check authorization.
      DTD was bought by National Semi conductor (Data checker) then sold to ICL computers of Great Britain who sold it to Fujitsu of Japan.
      I might of forgotten a few things as i am 80 years old but it is pretty acurare. My company was the third DTS dealership & the third largest.

      1. Cliff is mostly correct (glad to hear from Cliff). I worked at DTS from 1974-1978 in a dealership in Phoenix and then was hired by DTS directly and moved to Mass. I worked there (headed up the Food Industry Group) and installed the vwey first scanning systems. As Cliff said the first model was the Model 44 which had motorcycle batteries as power backup. The next models using the same case as the 44 was the models 42, 70 or 98. The model indicated how many totals the register had. Mostly sold to restaurants. Then came the models 400 and 440 (the former had features aimed at general retail and the latter focused on supermarkets). These were wildly successful. They were followed by the model 319 (less functionality). Soon the Series 500s were introduced which featured an alphanumeric display and printer. The 540 was the initial scanning model and I installed it at Warehouse Foods in E. Hartford, Connecticut. It was the worlds first free-standing scanning system (e.g. didnt required a main computer to run it). I relocated to CA by Datachecker following their purchase of DTS.
        Roger Lamb

  5. I worked in the systems support group for Safeway grocery stores from the late 80s to mid 90s.. When I first started in my local store in ’85 we had old sweda registers, but we were upgrading to 3683 by that time. I would LOVE to know if there’s any good 3683 resource around – I haven’t found any code or emulators or places to find cheap surplus hardware to play with.. Anyone have any ideas? email is steve at cherokeesystems dot com

  6. Are you still hunting for DTS info?
    I worked with DTS eguipment for years.. starting with 42, 100,… 500 etc.
    The 400 series for retail grocery.. the picture is most likely a 400. A 441 was a Safeway model and 442 was Kmart.

    1. Hello Bob,

      Thanks for stopping by the site, much appreciated! Yes, I would love any information you can share on the DTS machines.

  7. In reference to the Tower Record picture above, if you look at the last register on the counter, that is a slip printer sitting on top. A slip printer was never an option for the 300’s so I am thinking that says these are 400’s. I also seem to remember somewhere that Tower Records used 400’s. The 300’s were mainly a grocery store machine.

    1. Hello

      Good point about the slip printer. One other thing I recently discovered is the “Data Terminal Systems” logo is left justified on the 300s and more in the center on the 400s, which I see here.

    2. I did find a video of the register in use at a Tower Records and the keyboard is configured differently than most I’ve seen, with a bank of department numbers on the left side. I’ve seen photos of DTS 400s in Walmart configured with a bank of department keys on the left side before. On the Tower Records register the cash tend for the top drawer (they were in two drawer configurations) is a button above the “7” key.

      1. The 400 had keys on the right side of the keys for multiple drawers. Each cashier would use a different key for the drawer assigned to them. The keys on the left side were preset keys for items to ring up quickly. It could have programmed plus for lookup also.

  8. How fun to see this website. My name is Bill Tilson and I went to work for Fresno Cash Register in 1979 in the service department. In addition to running on-site service calls, I also fixed the circut boards in the DTS line using an oscilloscope and a set of schematics. Worked on the 150, 200, 300, 400, and 500. I liked it so much, I bought the company in 1992 and still own the company today. Still dont know what I want to do when I grow up… 🙂

    1. Any old DTS registers in the back storage area of your company? 🙂 Thanks for stopping by! If you have any documentation that I could scan in or anything that would be great.

    2. Bill, I don’t know if you remember me but I worked for EBM in Indianapolis from 1979-1998. I believe we did some business with you though the years, I did the same thing as you as I was the VP.

      1. Hi Terry,
        Your name sure rings a bell but dont think I ever heard of EBM. I suspect we ran across each other at some time… Kind if fun to see there are still some of old timers still around with all this useless information 🙂

  9. I used to be a field tech for a DTS dealership
    Tower Records used DTS 440 and the one with the slip printer attached was usually used for the Ticketron concert ticket sales counter
    Other record stores that used them were:
    Delicious Records
    Fortune Records
    Kmart used the DTS 442 which had special characters on the printer drum just for Kmart

    1. Thanks for stopping by. I know the Kmart registers had a different configuration on the keyboard to accommodate their department/“key” numbers on the right side of the keyboard. Some Walmart locations also ran with DTS Series 400 registers, but I don’t know the model. They had a large matrix of department key numbers on the left side of the keyboard, which seems like it would have been slower than doing what I saw other stores do with two entries per item: ## (dept number) ## (price).

  10. Do any of the DTS folks remember the printer configuration for the Series 300 and Series 400 registers? I know the printer was an EP-101. Typical EP-101s had 21 characters across the tape; I’m thinking DTS ran two 44mm tapes through at the same time and didn’t use the middle column of characters. Left side for customer receipt, right side for journal tape? The registers I’ve seen have only one LINE FEED button which probably affected both tapes?

    1. There was a model that used the entire drum that was use on the 98 in hotels. The paper was two ply for carbon copy. You are correct on the 44mm for the 400/440. Documentor another brand of Fastfood POS used the same printer as the 300/400/440 DTS machines.

  11. I was the programming manager for a large DTS dealer in Canada. We were the largest DTS dealer in the world for I think 2 years. We were the first to connect the the DEC PDP-11 to 571’s over AnsRTran and a modem. We also created an interface for restaurants to have order screens in the kitchen reading from 571’s. Arby’s and DQ used them here. Pretty cool stuff back then. We also had tons of large retail chains and hospitality customers. DTS took off like wildfire where I live and it burnt me out after 5-1/2 years. Good memories though.

  12. Joined DTS in 1972 as employee #19. As VP of Product Marketing wrote the specifications for several DTS products and oversaw the relationship with Kyocera who manufactured low end products for DTS in Japan. Occasionally accompanied major account sales on customer visits. Was on the floor of the NY Stock Exchange with other DTS officers when the company went public. Enjoyed the DTS trips to London, Paris & Rome when sales goals were exceeded.

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