An excerpt from The Giant Public Art of Gotham City by Vicki Vale, released 2006 by Wayne Publishing
The Wellpruf Giant Cash Register was, to several generations of young Gotham boys and girls, a first stop on their tour of fiscal responsibility with a complimentary miniature cash register bank and a visit to the world's largest cash register inside the Wellpruf headquarters in the Gotham financial district. Founded in 1922 by Cash R. Wellpruf, the Wellpruf Cash Register Company designed, built, and distributed tills for the new era of shoplifters, robbers, and gangsters. It was heavy (and could be bolted to the counter upon installation), locked securely and resisted jimmying open by all but the most gigantic of crowbars. In its heyday of the 1950s, Wellpruf was selling over fifteen thousand cash registers a year in the post-War atmosphere of a booming recovery economy.
The Wellpruf Building, located at the corner of Barr and Davis, just a block south of the Gotham City First National Bank headquarters, was built in 1925 as a home to the growing company. Designed by architect Jerry Finger in the neo-Gothic style that characterized industrial growth in Gotham of the period, the fifty-story boasted the city's first high-speed elevators, an elaborately decorated high-vaulted marble lobby, and an observation deck on the forty-fifth floor from which it was said you that on a clear day you could see the globe of the Daily Planet building across the state line in Metropolis.
Panels from "The Secret Life of the Catwoman" in Batman #62 (December 1950-January 1951), script by Bill Finger, pencils by Bob Kane (Batman & Robin figures only) and Lew Schwartz, inks by Charles Paris, letters by Ira Schnapp
It was for the model giant cash register installed in the antelobby in 1948, however, that the Wellpruf Building became best known. A perfect 6:1 scale model of a Wellpruf standard register #154, the model was not only perfect down to each detail of decoration but also boasted an elaborate scaled-up working mechanism that, with the physical effort of several men, could duplicate every calculation and sale-making function of the 154. Inside the register's massive drawer was stored poster-sized novelty dollar bill replicas featuring the grinning face of Cash Wellpruf as well as the famous giveaway cash register banks given to every visitor under the age of 13. A "sale" was rung up six times a day during business hours; the original mechanism's full operation required four men to operate the gigantic buttons, although the drawer could be sprung (after guiding the crowd cautiously back behind velvet safety ropes) by a single athletic man.
The debut of the Wellpruf Giant Cash Register was a smash hit that several other of the many cash register manufacturers of Gotham City attempts to copy, with little success. Notable among this copycat giant cash registers was the Federal Cash Register Company's rooftop-mounted giant cash register. Although a strong advertising icon on the Gotham skyline, its relative inaccessibility meant that the Federal Giant Cash Register attracted only moderate attention.
Panels from "A Greater Detective Than Batman!" in Batman #56 (December 1949-January 1950), script by Bill Finger, pencils and inks by Jim Mooney, letters by Ira Schnapp
With the advent of computerization, however, the Wellpruf Cash Register company fell behind in the market, and by the 1980s it was only shipping a few hundred registers annually. The Wellpruf Building was damaged during the Crisis, and the company went bankrupt a year afterwards. Its doors were shuttered by new owner Lex Luthor, and the building condemned for demolition after the Cataclysm earthquake, but the giant cash register remained in the building until 2002, when the Joker blew it up.