The Unexpected Lessons

We recently acquired this beat up antique cash register. The ones we’d collected in the past were already restored, so this one was a project. The excitement is in figuring out how to restore it!


We recently befriended an older gentleman from whom we’d gotten the restored cash registers. He’s been collecting and restoring antique cash registers for 50+ years. The 10 cent flag was missing so he graciously allowed us to come over and taught us how to install a new one.


He had not been well recently. Our visit was great timing because he was back in his element, working in his shop and “passing the baton of knowledge”. There aren’t many people “our age” interested in learning about this sort of thing. Who knew it was such greasy, complex work?

We replaced all the springs and cleaned all the flags. Since the flags overlap, they fit together in the slots in such a way that they don’t run into or rub against each other. So the ten cent replacement flag had to be a certain shape and size and have the right directional bend to fit in with the others.

This experience caused me to appreciate the craftmanship and mechanical complexity that went into pieces of history like this. Yes, now our complexity is different, it’s digital. I work for an electronics manufacturer, I understand and appreciate those complexities also. But it’s certainly eye opening to understand the complexity of the past, and the talent and expertise that went into making these beautiful historic pieces. And I for one, don’t ever want to forget it.

Want to know more? See how I repurposed an entire cash register into beautiful home decor!

Or, buy your architectural salvage now in my shop!


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