Did you know
ATMs - The Dream Made Real
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One of the questions that many people ask an inventor is, "what was the inspiration for their idea"? In many cases, the answer is similar. They had a problem. They had been inconvenienced, or had a dilemma, and nobody had a solution. Rather than sitting back and leaving the matter to sort itself out, that person decided to take the situation in hand and create their own solution. Such is the tale of the ATM.

Late one evening Mister John Shepherd was laying in his bath pondering the fact that he had missed the bank that morning. Due to the fact that the bank was closed, Mister Shepherd had been forced to ask at a local gas station if they could cash a check for him. Mister Shepherd was upset by the fact that he had been unable to get any cash from the bank itself. He could not understand why it was that a person could get a chocolate bar, or a bag of peanuts, from a vending machine day or night, but could not get any cash. While in the bath one night, Mister Shepherd came up with the concept of building a machine that would work the same as a vending machine operated except that it would allow people to be able to cash checks. 

This idea came to Mister Barclay in the early sixties when he was employed by the De La Rue Company. The De La Rue Company actually helped to print different currencies. Fortune smiled down on Mister Shepherd again when he met an executive from the Barclay Bank at a party. He asked the executive to spare him a moment, and John made his sales pitch to the man right then and there. According to Mister Shepherd the executive immediately understood the concept and was not only intrigued by the idea, he was ready to do business with Mister Shepherd the moment that he was able to create a working model.

The dream became reality in 1967. The very first cash dispensing ATM was installed in the Barclay’s Bank in Enfield. The first person to use the machine was the star of a well known British sitcom. The actor received 10 one pound notes from the machine after depositing a check for the requested amount. One of the unique aspects of Mister Shepherd’s design was that any person who wanted to get money from their account had to use a very special carbon coded type of check. Mister Shepherd referred to these checks as carbon-14 checks.

 It was not long after that Mister James Goodfellow`s version of the ATM was also installed. In fact, the dates were so close that Mister Goodfellow challenged Mister Shepherds’ claim to being the inventor of the ATM. His machine was actually much closer to those that we still use today. They did not need a carbon check to work, but rather, they operated using a card that had a four digit number on them which he called the PIN.

The ATM machine has grown and spread to almost every continent in the world. A person can now travel to almost any point on the planet and still are able to have access to their own bank, and accounts, and all because one man was not able to cash a check on time.
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