#14. The McCaskey Register Company Revolutionized the Way Shopkeepers Handled the Accounts of Their Customers
The McCaskey Register Company manufactured systems for keeping track of cash and credit accounts, revolutionizing the way shopkeepers and businesses handled the accounts of their customers. The company was founded in 1903 by Perry McCaskey, a Lisbon grocer who needed a better way to keep track of his charge accounts. He invented a “one writing” credit register system to solve the problem, and he found financial backing in Alliance to open his business here. The registers utilized custom printed sales books that produced duplicate and triplicate copies. The company bought a brick building and land on Rush Street for its operation. Around 1908, a fire burned up a large stock of wooden registers, which led to the creation of insulated and fireproof metal safe registers.
Business was so good in 1908 that the company built a new five-story plant at the Rush Street location. At this time majority stock ownership went to three Canton businessmen, but the factory and sales headquarters remained in Alliance. Between 1908 and 1913, the company grew tremendously, opening offices in Canton, Boston, Canada, and England and expanding and refining its product line. Major customers included Eastman Kodak and International Harvester, as well as automobile manufacturers. By 1922, more than 2 million McCaskey credit registers had been sold. At this time the company began making a cash register, the first one being sold to the Alliance Buick Company.
In 1925, Plant #2 was built at 2435 S. Union Avenue. This plant had general offices and a modern printing plant, leaving the Rush Street plant to manufacture the register systems. In 1926, F. E. Henry, Jr. took over as president and treasurer of the company, having first started at McCaskey in 1908. During the Depression, McCaskey Register customized cash register systems for gasoline service stations, miniature golf courses, Ohio state liquor stores, and physicians. The company converted to war production during WWII, making instruments for warplanes and bomb racks. After the war, production of registers was limited due to materials shortages. In 1950, the company employed 800 people, including 325 in Alliance and 250 traveling salesmen.
In 1953, McCaskey was bought by the Victor Adding Machine Company. There are some machines made that bore the Victor McCaskey name, but eventually the McCaskey name disappeared. The Rush Street plant was later occupied by Alliance Wholesalers; it burned down in 2012. The Union Avenue plant served as Plant #2 of the Alliance Manufacturing Company until sometime in the 1970s; the property has had a few other short-term tenants, but is vacant today.