Posted on 9/11/2014

The telephone, light bulb and cash register

The Telephone

Where would we be without the telephone?  It all started in 1876 when Alexander Graham Bell filed a patent for the first electric telephone.  He was awarded the patent by the United States Patent and Trademark Office.  The patent that Mr Bell filed was the master patent of the telephone.  All other patents for electronic telephone devices and features were based on this patent.

The Light Bulb

Thomas Edison began his serious research in 1878.  He was researching to develop a practical incadescent lamp.  Edison first filed a patent application in 1878 for “Improvement in Electronic Lights”.  However, he continued to research and test several different types of material for the metal filaments to improve upon his original design.  In 1879 he filed for another patent application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office for an electric lamp that used a carbon filament or strip coiled and connected to platina wires.  Although this patent stated that there were several ways of crating the carbon filament it was not until months later that Edison and his team discovered that a carbonised bamboo filament could last well over 1200 hours.  This discovery marked the beginning of commercially manufactured light bulbs and in 1880, Thomas Edison’s company began marketing its new product.

The Cash Register

James Ritty was a saloonkeeper and an inventor.  James found out that some of his employees were taking the customers’ money and pocketing it.  Whilst on a steamboat trip in 1878, Ritty became intrigued by a mechanism that counted how many times the ship’s propeller went around.  He believed that such a device could possibly record the cash transactions made at his saloon.

As soon as he got home, Ritty and his brother, John, began working on a design for such a device.  There were several failed prototypes; but the third design operated by pressing a key that represented a specific amount of money.  James and John Ritty patented the design in 1879 as “Ritty’s Incorruptible Cashier”.

After reading a description of the cash register designed by James Ritty and sold by the National Manufacturing Company, John H Patterson bought both the company and the patent.  He renamed the company the National Cash Register Company in 1884.  The cash register was later improved by John Patterson who added a paper roll in order to record transactions.

Let us know what you think

Which of these inventions do you think we could not do without?  Let us know on our twitter page @wilsongunn

Wilson Gunn