Because they believed that they were building the very best cash registers possible, that people would use them for hundreds of years into the future (how cocky is that?), and that eventually with centuries of use, the front would start to wear down from thumbs closing the register door.
From what I understand, cash registers were the focal point of many small shops and business. The first and last thing you see in the store. Antique cash registers were beautifully detailed and sometimes lavishly decorated. Some of the most exquisite examples of these early machines have cabinets made of highly polished:
And there is a connection between these cash registers and Donald Trump.
NCR had a killer salesman named Tom in their NY office. He would often sell 60 to 85 registers a week making $1,200 in commissions in one week back in the early 1900s. That is a huge fortune in today’s money. He was ruthless, following his competitors’ salespeople, undercutting competitors, badmouthing them, and insinuating they are all going under. He even setup a new competitor to sell cash registers for less than cost just to drive out all his rivals. Anyway, he and his boss fought a lot. One day, despite his sales abilities, his boss let him go. He did it by dragging Tom’s desk out into the parking lot and lighting it on fire. That’s where the phrase “You’re fired!” comes from. And of course that is the line used in Trump’s hit TV show. Tom left and started a new company to build cash registers and other business machines that ran on electricity, instead of just mechanical means like National Cash Register made. Tom was Thomas Watson, founder of IBM.