Antique 1913 cash register returned to original owners at family owned Chicago jewelry store

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Marshall Pierce & Company is one of Chicago's oldest family owned jewelry stores in Chicago. For Christmas this year, they were surprised by a gift that goes back 6 generations in the Bern family: the original store's cash register from 1913.

Store owner Jerry Bern immediately recognized the cash register from days spent at his grandfather's store as a child. When he realized that it was in fact the same machine, he said, "you could have knocked me over with a feather."

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Marshall Pierce & Co. is one of Chicago's oldest family owned jewelry stores, and for Christmas this year they got back their original store's cash register from 1913.

For years, the cash register had been in the possession of Bruce Bradley, an antiques collected who died this past year.

"He collected cash registers as a hobby," said Pam Spain, Bradley's daughter.

Spain is mechanically inclined and took on the task of restoring several old cash registers. In the process of cleaning, she found a proof of purchase on the machine, which listed Ellis Bern as the purchaser.

"I had received an email from Pam saying that she believed she had our family's cash register," said Evan Bern, who works with his father at Marshall Pierce. "We made plans to go pick up the register and give it to our father for Christmas."

It's such a heavy piece of machinery, Evan said, that he had to cart it into the living room on a wheelbarrow.

"For my dad, he was always a very sentimental person," said Bradley's daughter Christy Kessler. "I'm sure he's smiling down from heaven knowing that this treasure that he had for years and that we played with as children went back to the original family."

The Bern's store has moved from its original location, but their original National Cash Register (Model 442) is back home.

"There's been a lot of highs and lows this year and it's just really nice to end 2020 on a positive note," Evan said.
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