History of Early POS Systems

The early electronic cash registers (ECR) were programmed and developed in proprietary software and were limited in functions and communications capability. In 1973 August, IBM announced the 3650 and 3660 Store Systems that were, in essence – a mainframe computer packaged as a store back end that could control 128 IBM 3653/3663 Point of Sale Registers. This system was the first commercial use of client-server technology, peer-to-peer communications, Local Area Network (LAN) simultaneous backup, and remote initialization. By mid-1974, the system was installed in Pathmark Stores in New Jersey and Dillards Department Stores.

The programmability of such systems allowed retailers to be more creative. In 1979, Gene Mosher’s Old Canal Cafe in Syracuse, New York was using Point of Sale Software written by Mosher that operated on an Apple II to receive customer orders at the restaurant’s front entrance then print the complete preparation details in the kitchen. With such process in place, customers would often proceed to their tables to find their food already waiting for them. The software also included real time labor and food cost reports.

In 1985, Mosher introduced the first color touch-screen driven POS interface. This software operated on the Atari ST, which was the world’s first consumer-level color graphic computer. By the end of the 20th Century, Mosher’s promotion of this un patented software paradigm had led to its worldwide adoption by many cash register manufacturers and other Point of Sale Software developers as the de facto standard for POS Software Systems.

Fast forward to now, most of the major retailer and even the small “mom and pop” shops or the world use Point of Sale Software/Systems.