Here’s the documentation featuring the Data Terminal Systems Series 200 cash registers. I remember seeing these registers in the wild; a local gas station used it as their primary machine for their service station. I was fascinated by the dot-matrix printer and thought of it as more technically advanced that the EP-101 impact printers in the Series 300 and 400 machines. The 200 machines were quite capable as standalone registers. I remember a bargain grocery store chain using these machines in their six checkout lane setup.
I was interested to see the Series 200 registers being compatible with DTS’s external slip printer.
The Retail Solutions Providers Association (RSPA) is celebrating the 75th anniversary this year and at their recent RetailNOW gathering, featured an exhibit of technology in the point of sale space over the years.
In addition to the vintage equipment on display (shown in previous blog entry photos), they’ve also put together an impressive library of vintage brochures and other documentation from over the years. With their permission, I’ll be sharing some of these pieces here on the site.
For more information on the RSPA, check out their website at https://gorspa.org.
Up first, sales brochures around the DTS Series 400 line of cash registers. There’s several different models and use cases shown in these brochures.
Some features available in the Series 400 included Interregister Communications, ANS-R-TRAN (allowing for host computers and the cash registers to communicate data back and forth), change dispensing interfaces compatible with NCR change dispensers, dot matrix remote slip printers, real time clock, and multiple cash drawer options.
I’m still on the lookout for operating, programming, and technical manuals for all of these machines. I’m also looking for old receipts generated from these machines as well.
An archive video explaining how the National Semiconductor Datachecker scanning system, and more importantly, UPC scanning in general, worked when new in 1974.
The cash register has the same design as other Datachecker registers of the era, just with an alphanumeric display along the top. I remember a variation used by the Tops chain back then, but they had numeric segmented displays in the main register housing, instead of a separate display along the top.
The dot matrix printer and receipt format are pretty much the same as used by later NS/Datachecker systems in the late 1980s.
It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of the Data Terminal Systems (DTS) cash registers from back in the day. At one point I had two DTS Model 150s in my collection, but after they gave up the ghost I decided to donate them to another retro computing enthusiast.
The Retail Solutions Providers Association (RSPA) recently celebrated their 75th anniversary at their RetailNOW convention. I’ll be posting some of the vintage documentation highlighted at their event. After spotting (and sharing) the photographed DTS Model 319 in the previous post, I did some research and was able to reach out to some folks in the industry.
Here we have a DTS Model 440 that was featured at the RSPA event, as photographed by Dave McCarthy of DUMAC Business Systems in Syracuse, New York. This particular register was either refurbished or built to original specs after National Semiconductor purchased Data Terminal Systems and started incorporating the DTS designs into their Datachecker line.
The keyboard layout is mostly familiar to me; the only differences I can spot is “LOG SBTL” in what I knew as the “DEPT NR” location and the “@/SBTL” button replaced by a simple “@” key. This was just a difference in configuration for whatever retail chain used this particular register. I know on the Model 440 I was able to play around with back in my teens, pressing ACCT NR would log the current subtotal on the receipt and journal tapes.
As a native of Upstate New York, a couple of grocery store chains, including P&C Foods and some Great American locations, used these registers as their first ECRs. Fays Drugs also used a variant.
I’ve been running across a few new photos and some documentation around Data Terminal Systems cash registers lately. I’ll be reaching out to a source to make sure they’re good with me reposting the information here. In the meanwhile, here’s a photo of a Data Terminal Systems Model 319 electronic cash register. I found the photo on Linked In.
I remember this exact configuration of DTS equipment at a local grocery store back in the day. I also remember a variation in use at the Carls Drugs drugstore chain in Upstate New York. Those registers were in use right up until the chain was sold to Fay’s Drugs (and Fay’s put in their DTS Series 400 registers). AMT TEND in the upper left hand corner is a vivid memory, also I believe the display would fill with leading zeroes when the sub total is displayed (1.09 would be represented as 0001.09).
I found this video on YouTube, it’s a “B” roll of news footage from a Target in Minnesota. Filmed in 1986, the first few minutes of the video feature the checkout area. This particular store was using IBM 3653 cash registers, assumedly in production for several years at this point. Target was using a mix of technology in the mid 1980s; newer stores used IBM 3683 cash registers at the time.
Watching the operator guidance panel when the cashier starts a new transaction. I’m assuming the user is cashier #16, then enters a “1” for “Cash Sale”, and then enters six digit SKUs and the price of each item.
YouTube contributor Vampire Robot has posted quite a few B-roll videos from retail establishments back in the day to their channel. Here’s a bunch of footage from a Sears store in 1991, complete with mostly NCR 2152 registers and their rattling printers. I’ve always known Sears to go from the Singer-Friden system to NCR 2152s to the CompuAdd registers to the current IBM SurePOS system in use today in their remain stores. Apparently some Sears stores had NCR 7052 registers as well and I’ve had folks tell me of some Sears running with IBM 4683s. I need to do more research of their practices during the 80s and beyond, but at least for now we can enjoy the NCR key beeps and rattling printers.
Enjoy your last minute shopping! Here we have an NCR 2152 cash register in an unknown location. I remember several chains running with these registers in the 80s and 90s, including Sears (after the Singer-Friden registers), BonTon, and Caldor.
Going through old photos I found this picture of a Data Terminal Systems Series 400 cash register in Canada. I believe there’s an old mall or shopping center that’s preserved in its legacy state, complete with three checkouts and these registers.