Patterson, John H.

Patterson, John H. (Henry)

(1844–1922) manufacturer; born near Dayton, Ohio. He served in the Union army during the Civil War and then attended Dartmouth College; although he graduated (1867), he seems to have acquired a dislike of college education and graduates. He worked at various jobs until 1884 when he bought a major interest in the National Manufacturing Company, a purchase for which he was so ridiculed he tried to buy his way out. When that failed, he renamed it the National Cash Register Company, and as president until 1921, he turned it into an international industry leader by improving its physical plant and product, and by an innovative advertising and education campaign to generate a market. Above all, he pioneered in the development of a sales force, by the use of everything from sales conventions and exclusive sales territories to required calisthenics and generous employee benefits.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.