In 1884, John Henry Patterson bought out his fellow investors in the National Manufacturing Company and formed the National Cash Register Company, the predecessor of NCR Corporation. Located in Dayton, Ohio, this company made cash registers. The company grew slowly, producing only sixteen thousand registers in its first decade in operation. Through aggressive marketing and advertising, by 1914, the National Cash Register Company was producing 110,000 cash registers per year. In 1906, the company manufactured the first electric cash register.
Patterson was well known for his compassion for his employees. He provided women workers with coffee and soup for lunch. Machine operators sat on actual chairs with backs for support rather than on stools. He provided his workers with indoor bathrooms. Patterson implemented a ventilation system to provide clean air to his workers. He also maintained a doctor's office in his factory to assist injured workers as quickly as possible.
The National Cash Register Company engaged in civic work as well. Following the Dayton flood of 1913, the company provided approximately one million dollars to assist people in recovering from the disaster. The company allocated an additional 600,000 dollars to study how the community could prevent flooding in the future. In addition to these efforts, Patterson donated money to help build parks and playgrounds. He also provided funds to create the first public kindergarten in Dayton.
Patterson died on May 2, 1922. His son, Frederick B. Patterson, assumed control of the National Cash Register Company. That same year, the company produced its two millionth cash register. It also had begun producing other business machines. During World War I and World War II, the National Cash Register Company helped the United States' war effort by manufacturing shell fuses, plane engines, and code-breaking machines, among many other items.
During the 1950s and the 1960s, the National Cash Register Company began to produce computers. In 1974, it changed its name to NCR Corporation to symbolize its more diverse product line. In 1991, AT&T acquired the NCR Corporation but decided to end its control of NCR Corporation in 1997. NCR Corporation continues to operate in the early 2000s, specializing in office equipment.