National Cash Register Company (NCR)

NCR began in 1884 when John Patterson began to make mechanical cash registers. It was widely regarded as a ‘high tech’ company and even made some of its resources available to code-breaking groups during WWII. It acquired Computer Research Corporation in 1952 and, in 1956, introduced an electronic accounting machine using a magnetic strip for data storage. In 1962, NCR created a computer mass storage device, again based on magnetic cards, called a CRAM file.

Although having a record of producing computers aimed at the small business market, they attempted to bring out a series of general purpose machines (the Century series) in 1968 and, like others attempting to compete with IBM, they found competition difficult. Despite having financial problems, NCR continued to produce computers with varying levels of success (the 1982 Tower Unix-based machine sold 100,000 units but later machines were not so successful) until they were purchased by AT&T in 1991.