how the famous Soviet treasury worked / Habr

how the famous Soviet treasury worked / Habr

We have already told you about “National” – the legendary cash registers of the American company National Cash Register, which changed the perception of retail trade. For quite a long time, they were used in the Russian Empire and the USSR, but with the development of their own production, Soviet cash registers began to supplant foreign ones. Today we will talk about “OKA” – the famous Soviet cash registers, first manufactured at the Ryazan plant of counting and analytical machines in the 1970s. Let’s focus on “OKA 4401” in more detail.

A brief background

The Ryazan Plant of Counting and Analytical Machines (PO “SAM”) began its history in 1938 with the decree of the Council of People’s Commissars of the USSR. In July 1939, its construction was transferred to the wing of the USSR People’s Commissariat for Construction.

According to the document, the plant was supposed to be built in 1939-1940, but due to the beginning of the Great Patriotic War, the deadlines were postponed. As a result, the factory began work in 1946 with the production of 25 thousand sets of fonts for cash registers.

Before “OKI”, the plant produced several early models of Soviet cash registers. In 1956, the production of cash registers of the “KI” and “KO” models began. In addition, already at that time the plant was producing summing machines “SDU-138”, automatic locks and sections for hydraulic integrators. In 1958, the production of the four-counter machine “KIM” began – the forefather of the “KIR” cash register, produced at the same plant, and since 1960 the plant began to make “KZh-2” cash registers for the sale of railway tickets and a punch for punched cards.

In the 1970s, the OKA model appeared, based on the Swedish Sweda prototype. By 1979, the millionth copy of “OKI” had already been collected. Single-counter cash registers (OKA 1301, 1401 and 1501), four-count cash registers (OKA 4301, 4401 and 4501) and cash registers for restaurants (OKA 4301, 4441 and 4541) were produced.

In 1983, the first electronic “OKA-301” was released, which, unfortunately, did not remain in production due to operational problems. About a year or two after the start of production, its production was closed, because the cash register printing unit often printed the wrong numbers that were needed.

According to GOST 11476-72, introduced by the Resolution of the State Committee of the USSR on Standards of November 26, 1979 No. 4522 (later replaced by GOST 11476-79), “OKA” cash registers belonged to the B2C type and were capable of:

  • to print the readings of financial counters without viewing the readings on the disks;

  • take into account the amounts transferred through the machine and department counters (except single-counter machines);

  • calculate on the counter the private totals of the purchase price of one buyer, the amount of delivery;

  • print on the check the cost of individual purchases, the total cost of purchases, the amount paid by the buyer, the amount of delivery, reporting checks (when taking readings and extinguishing meters), print a control tape;

  • display the performed operations on the indicator.

“OKA 4401”

Probably, one of the most iconic and widespread cash registers of the OKA model was the OKA 4401, which was produced since 1979. It was a rather large cash register weighing 38 kg (in some sources the weight is up to 42-45 kg) and dimensions 45.6 x 35.5 x 43.5 cm, which has four counters.

There were four rows for entering the amount of purchases at the cash register: two for roubles and two for pennies. In each row, respectively, there were 9 buttons for numbers from 1 to 9. This was a traditional option, but then modernized options appeared with an additional row for sets of hundreds of rubles and an additional window for displaying the amount of the purchase by the buyer. The “zero” button is not provided in any case. Zero is implied by default when entering the sum from different rows. And if it was necessary to introduce an equal purchase amount, for example, 100 rubles, it was necessary to first deposit 99 rubles and then 1 ruble.

To the right of the rows with numbers in the photo, you can see other service buttons. The first four marked different departments/counters, the others were used to perform various operations, which we will talk about later.

Inside, the cash register was an arithmetic meter (like Felix) with an indicator and mechanisms for printing and withdrawing checks, an electromechanical unit, a connection and transfer mechanism, a counting mechanism, and an adjustment mechanism. The electromechanical unit consisted of a motor, a starting capacitor, a contactor and an interference suppressor.

“The data typed on the keyboard was transferred to the meter using the transfer mechanism and the meter connection mechanism. The drive of the transfer mechanism was carried out using the cams of the main shaft. When the shaft rotates, the cam raises the rail drive lever and the connecting rod, which, thanks to this, lowers the counter and auxiliary rail to the stop in the rod of the pressed key. At the same time, indicator discs and printing wheels were installed through the indicator rail and gear. After that, the meters were connected to the meters with the help of motors, pushers and cams of the counter shaft, which form the connection mechanism,” the book states.Commercial equipment“from 1985.

Inside the cash register was a calendar for setting the date of the transaction on each check: Roman numerals indicated the month, Arabic numerals indicated the day and year. Two tapes were also installed: check (for current purchases) and control (for reports). On the receipt for the buyer, all transactions related to his purchase were printed in detail, and the word “Thank you!” was placed on top.

Before starting work, it was necessary to insert and turn the key in the upper right lock located on the cash register. In the absence of a key, the keys were simply not pressed.

The buyer approached the cashier and said that he needed to make a purchase, let’s say, for 8 rubles, naming the appropriate department of the store (for example, bakery, meat, dairy, etc.). The cashier typed 8 rubles, pressed the key of the required department (if there was only one department, respectively, one key, the rest were covered with plugs) and turned the handle on the side of the machine twice. The handle was used in cases when the electric motor did not work, for example, there was no electricity in the store. If the electric motor was running, all actions requiring turning the handle were done automatically. After that, the amount was deposited into the cash register, and the money box was opened.

The cashier could issue interim checks to the customer if, say, purchases were made in several different departments, or know the interim result before issuing the final check. The buyer paid, took the check from the cashier, came to the department, received the goods. After completing all intermediate purchases, the cashier pressed the “Summary” key (blue with an asterisk), after which the final amount to be paid appeared on the board. When turning the handle (or automatically when the electric motor is working), the cash register issued a final check. If it was necessary to open the box without making a purchase, it was enough to punch a zero check.

“OKA 4401” could consider the delivery to be given to the buyer. Before forming the main check, it was necessary to enter the amount of money given by the buyer and press the “+” button (aka “accepted”). At this stage, the cash register records the amount received from the client. After pressing the key with the “‑” sign, the change to be issued appears on the scoreboard. The operation of depositing the amount for the calculation of surrender had to be done before closing the check. It was also possible to repeat the previous purchase (multiplication operation, “x” key) and reset the operation (“C” key).

After the end of the shift, the cashiers took the report during the day. To remove the report, you need other keys that are inserted into the bottom right lock of the cash register. The key for the X-report (interim) was taken, turned in the direction of the “X” designation, after which the cashier clicked on the desired department and the “Summary” button. As a result, the cash register issued a check with the revenue for the day. The X-report does not reset the readings to zero, unlike the final Z-report. For the Z-report, I also took my own key, turned towards the “Z” designation, pressed the button of the department and after “Summary”. After that, all purchases and transactions on the counter of the department were reset.

In addition to OKI, other cash registers were produced and actively operated in the USSR. For example, Habra has material about the Soviet cash register A1T-4-400-2 of 1979. The machine also had an electric motor, 4 rows of numbers from 1 to 9, a control tape, a window to show the amount and more. In parallel with electromechanical cash registers, electronic ones of the “Iskra-302A” type were also produced.

Manufacturers of OKA cash registers also tried to keep up with the times, releasing new models. But on October 28, 2003, “Ryazan Production Association SAM” ceased to exist. At the moment, the brand “OKA” is owned by the company “PRO SAM”, which offers buyers a choice of three “OKA” models: OKA-102F, Oka MF FFD 1.05 and Oka MF FFD 1.2.

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