• Dec 13, 1844
    (b.) -
    May 7, 1922
    (d.)

Bio/Description

An industrialist and founder of the National Cash Register Company, he was a businessperson and salesperson. He was born in 1844 near Dayton, Ohio and attended Miami University, Oxford, Ohio and graduated from Dartmouth College in 1867. After which time he worked on his father's farm, collected tolls on the Miami and Erie Canal, and ran a coal yard with his two brothers. As the general manager of the Southern Coal and iron Company at Coalton, Ohio, he ran the company store. The books showed that the store should have made a profit of $12,000 a year, but it was actually losing $6,000 per year due to dishonest clerks. After buying two of "Riddy's Incorruptible cashier" machines from the National Manufacturing Company, he and his brother bought the company in 1884 – renaming it, "National Cash Register, Inc." In 1893 he constructed the first "daylight factory" buildings with floor-to-ceiling glass windows that let in light and could be opened to let in fresh air as well. This was in an era when sweatshops were still in operation elsewhere. He hired John Charles Olmsted to landscape the grounds of the National Cash Register Company campus in Dayton, with spacious lawns and landscaping with colorful plantings. Olmsted also had a hand in designing the residential community surrounding the plant (South Park) as well as a park system for the City of Dayton. Based on a 16-page handbook written by his brother-in-law, he established the world's first sales training school on the grounds of the NCR factory campus (at Sugar Camp in Dayton, Ohio). He also coined a phrase for his service division which, until about the time the company was bought by AT&T, hung on the wall of every service department in the company. The phrase was, "We Cannot Afford To Have A Single Dissatisfied Customer". He was famous for hiring and later firing Thomas Watson Sr, who went on to become General Manager, then President, of CTR, later renamed IBM and he was famous for firing many people on rather trivial grounds, for example, if they couldn't tell him why the flags happened to be flying that day or for not riding a horse properly. He was inducted into the Junior Achievement U.S. Business Hall of Fame in 1979.
  • Date of Birth:

    Dec 13, 1844
  • Date of Death:

    May 7, 1922
  • Gender:

    Male
  • Noted For:

    Founder of National Cash Register Company, led recovery effort after the Great Dayton Flood; also was famous for hiring and later firing Thomas Watson Sr, who went on to become General Manager, then President, of CTR – later renamed IBM
  • Category of Achievement:

  • More Info: