I stumbled across this video on YouTube from the Hagley Museum and Library channel. It is a very informative video on the IBM 5260 Retail Solution from the late 1970s and early 1980s.

A couple of interesting things about the cash register of this retail solution:

  1. The cashier prompts are actually a “rolling” tape with the appropriate prompt displayed through a window
  2. The keyboard was not conducive to touch-style entry. The chicklet keyboard required a firm touch and the keys were oddly sized
  3. The reason for the chicklet keyboard was the paper overlays used for programming the cash register
  4. Multiple registers could be networked together
  5. Data was stored on 8-inch floppy disks, much like the IBM 3684 from around the same era

I had the opportunity to work on one of these registers for a mall photo shop in the 1991 or 1992. By that time the cash register was pretty beat up but still worked reliably. The new owner of the store needed assistance in learning how the register worked and what his upgrade paths were. Providing this information was a lot of fun for me, though I was learning about the register along the way as well. The majority of my IBM point of sale experience, up to that point, had been writing user exits on the IBM 4680 series of registers as a contract programmer.

Enjoy the video!