John Wicker was probably the most famous of all the old-time British ‘National’ Agents.
He joined J.W.Allinson in 1892, later taking over the Midlands Area.
In 1895, when Patterson incorporated the National Cash Register Company in Great
Britain, Wicker was already established as a top salesman.
The following newspaper report of an interview with Sales Agent John Wicker at the
National Trades Exhibition, Bingley Hall appeared in the Birmingham Post of 1899.
"Yesterday afternoon I passed happily among the many varied exhibits at the National
Trades Exhibition in Bingley Hall Quite suddenly I stopped before No 93 and was arrested
by the sound of the voice of my dear old friend Mr John Wicker Ah thought I, this
is the very man I have been waiting for Here goes to interview him.' 'Tis easy to
speak, but harder to do, for Mr Wicker was up to his ears in work when I bashfully
entered the domains of the National Cash Register Stand and tendered my card. It
must have been the magic word 'Press' which within two minutes brought our friend
to his senses (and to me) - -
" Fifteen years ago Cash Registers were unknown. Tradesmen went on in the old slipshod
unsystematic style -with no care or watch over their daily takings. All at once from
the land of the Star Spangled Banner - there came an invention which has revolutionised
the commercial world. - In 1885 what we now sneeringly call the old mahogany case
detail adder came into use in the chief cities of the States, and found its way across
'the pond' to the American Bar, Lorne Street, Liverpool From here Mr John Wicker
took up the sole Sales Agency in the Midlands and during the thirteen years he has
been at his post he has sent up so many orders that he now proudly wears the badge
as Banner Agent
The National Trades Exhibition, Bingley Hall, Birmingham 1898.
Half an hour per week is allowed all employees for a hot or cold bath, while the
younger generations are catered for by a well-appointed kindergarten school.
"The prices of these valuable machines, of course, vary considerably, from £4 to
£75 being the limit margins. They are undoubtedly useful, being a check for the employer,
a friend to the assistant, and a source of satisfaction to the customers, and the
time will soon come when no business will be without them. .
"Naturally such enterprise as this should lead to good-business, for already there
are over 3,000 of the famous - Registers at work in Birmingham and the Midlands,
and Mr. Wicker particularly prides himself upon the fact that during his thirteen
years of Birmingham life he has never once had a serious complaint.
"Those of my readers who cannot find time to see the exhibition should drop a post-card
to Mr. Wicker, at No.2, New Street, when he is only too ready to wait upon would-be
customers,-'and thoroughly explain the many and varied advantages the National Cash
Register has over its weak and puny rivals."
Mr. WICKER gave the following advice in 1898
-Sometimes you meet a man who says to you: "I am not buying a Register. I am not
in for buying anything. I am too busy to listen to you-"I reply: "If you will spare
me to minutes, at the end of that time you think your time has been wasted, I will
pay you for it, but I am sure you will be pleased with the Register and what it does
if you will allow me to show it to you." Some-times this will cause a man to listen
Another argument I use in talking to a publican who has an interest in the house,
lease, goodwill, freehold, or whatever it may be I try to prove to him that a National
Cash Register will at any time double, treble, or quadruple the value of his house
in 12 months. Take the little payments that are made -6d. for lemons, 1d. for a time
table, drink for brewer's dray-men - what is done with these transactions? Are they
booked? No. A National Cash Register system, properly worked and looked after, would
increase the value of your house by £1,000 or £1,500, because these payments of which
no record is kept reduce your profits, and you have to take over the counter two
or three times that amount to make up the various sixpences you have paid out to
some purpose. Thus a National Cash Register system increases the value of your house.
This argument I have often used, and thereby won the attention of a PP.
1898 while many Agents used the train and hired a horse and trap from the inns of
the district or a cab from the railway station Mr.Wicker drove a trap and kept two
horses so that he "does not wear one out"
1900 John Wicker and his wife visited Dayton to attend the Convention on the 2nd
July, sailing on the "Kaiser William Der Grosse"
"Many and varied are the styles one can see at Stall 93 and indeed the enterprising
American firm deserve all credit for their ‘go’ in inventive genius. To see their
latest machine which registers each separate purchase, and delivers a receipt ticket
for the customer, beggars description. It is a kind of typewriter linotype and register
all in one, which totalises details and receipts far better than many cashiers in
this or other cities
"Since the institution of these Cash Registers over 150,000 of them have been sold
in Great Britain, and with a dozen men as energetic and farsighted as Mr. John Wicker,
the Cash Register Co. should soon gain admittance to the counting-house, shop, bar,
or warehouse in every town throughout the land. Up to the present, the Stall at the
Exhibition has well paid its way, and I may mention among others
Messrs. Mitchell & Butlers (20),
Messrs. Barrows, Ltd. (6),
Messrs. Magors, Ltd.,
Messrs. Grigg & Brettell,; - - -
Messrs. Butlers, Wolverhampton (30), - -
The Acorn, Temple Street,
as proofs of the great trust the chief commercial houses of Great Britain place in
this handy and useful article.
"The manufactory at Dayton, Ohio (U.S.A.), finds- employment for about 2,000 hands,
and they are indeed well looked after, 'a la Bournville.' In the last three years
the working hours of the females have been reduced one hour, and those of the men
three-quarters of an hour, without any reduction in wages.