That’s what they nicknamed the first mechanical cash register (circa 1870). It wasn’t created to automate sales or do addition or any such thing – it was created to stop employees from skimming from the till.
A quirky store owner named John Patterson took the idea and ran with it, turning National Cash Register into a the number one employer in Dayton, Ohio. You remember NCR perhaps?
A ‘zapper’ is a modern day piece of software that removes transactions from a register’s memory so the operator won’t have to pay sales tax.
(I’m working with my friend Michael Fitzgerald on an article on point-of-sale security. Yet another little corner of the world that sounds mundane but actually has all these fascinating little wrinkles and historical oddities.)