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Did You Know?
May 2008

Did You Know?
by Ken Carr
May 2008


            ...that NCR at one time had a company slogan. In 1921, in a continuing effort to involve the employees and to stimulate thought by the employees, a slogan contest was initiated.  In June 1907 over 5000 entries were received from 1150 employees.  The winning entry, chosen by the Advertising Department was “National in Name, Universal in Use.”  No idea how long it was used by the company, however, we do know it was never included among the many of saying, mottoes and slogans which were printed on the outside walls of many of the buildings in the Dayton complex.

            When NCR management, in 2007, moved the executive offices to New York City, it was not the first time that the executive office had been move out of Dayton. In a written history of NCR’s employee newsletter, it reads, “From July 1908 through April 1910, the newsletter known at the time as The National Cash Register was edited from New York City as the executive offices were in New York.”  I have not been able to determine exactly when the office returned to Dayton, however, the history does state the newsletter was edited in Dayton beginning in May 1910.

            It may well be that the movement of the executive offices to New York was an extension of a treat made by Mr. Patterson as early as 1906 and with more urgency early in 1907.  That threat - to move the company out of Dayton. In a speech in January 1907, Mr. Patterson said he considered the City of Dayton backward, unprogressive, and lacking in public spirit and showing little inclination to help NCR continue to grow as it had over the past 23 years.  Mr. Hugh Chalmers, Patterson’s second in command and General Manager at the time, in a speech to the city fathers of Dayton, outlined in more detail Mr. Patterson’s thoughts.

            Civic Improvements were needed.  Public transportation ( getting employees to and from the plant), better roads and railroads (getting raw materials in and finished products out), parks and entertainment (something beyond employment to offer new employees moving to Dayton), a Board of Trade to work toward advancing current business and promoting new business ( other cities were doing just that), more affective police department ( easier to form the character of the young than to reform the adults), better school system ( too many children quitting and not educated to enter business and industry), additional bridges across the Miami ( better access to the city west of the river), and an updated sewer system (unsanitary conditions were affecting the health of the employees).  Mr. Chalmers’ stressed that these changes would benefit NCR but they would have even a greater affect on the city as a whole.

            Mr. Chalmers went on to point out what NCR meant to the city: over 5000 people employed with an annual payroll of $5,000,000 and over $2,000,000 of local purchasing.  Projections were for all these numbers to double in five years. He reminded them that 96% of all the cash registers in use in the world were manufactured right here in Dayton and that was just the beginning. He asked this question, “How will the city of Dayton ever attract new business if they let their largest employer NCR) leave?” 

             He closed by assuring them that the move out of Dayton was not an idle treat and the company going or staying was in the hands of the city.  He made it plain that other cities were making offers to the company. He had letters from one city in particular, Buffalo, NY and detailed why Buffalo was a viable option.

            The threat must have been met head on by the city as NCR still counts Dayton as its headquarters even though all manufacturing as well as the executive offices have departed.