Abstract: The Sun Never Sets on National Cash Registers: NCR Goes Abroad and Sells Itself as a Modern Company

Stacy Haberstroh


The National Cash Register Company (NCR), founded in 1885 in Dayton, Ohio, quickly grew to international prominence selling cash registers. John Patterson, the company president, made international operations a key component of the company's policies and business strategy. The NCR customer was a small business owner, who had much in common with other small businessmen throughout the world, regardless of nationality. NCR viewed its customer base as a unified group with similar needs and thus used the same sales techniques throughout the world. Other companies of the time saw foreign markets simply as a way to unload surpluses, while Patterson used foreign business to create a distinct image for his company. The foreign sales were used widely in advertising materials and company publications, as well as in sales pitches and exhibitions. Foreign sales did serve a monetary function, but were more important because NCR then used its foreign business to sell itself as a modern and cosmopolitan company.