I really like the vintage look of this image. It looks as if the model, like the old register, is a relic of the past, frozen in a bygone moment of flash photography.
Another thought is that she stands before a mysterious invention of her time that displays images from far away, like a modern television. She demonstrates how one might view relatives in distant places, such as this little boy, through the miracle of 19-century science. No blueprint or schematics of such a device, nor even proof it ever existed, can today be found--save for this old photograph. Who the young woman was, her tie to the device, its inventor or their ultimate fate is still a mystery.