The ATM Turns 40 Today

Today, we must pay homage to a device we take for granted on a daily basis. The Automatic Teller Machine turns 40 years old today and did you know that it started out across the pond before making its way to the US? Creator Shepherd Barron got the idea while sitting in a bathtub, idly pondering how he could get his own cash anywhere in the world or UK. He got the idea of the ATM from a chocolate bar machine and basically just copied the idea and swapped chocolate for money.

The first machine used checks with carbon 14, a radioactive substance, on them for cash withdrawal. You’d insert the check, a sensor would detect the chemicals and would read a PIN number. Imagine, back then, the most you could withdrawal was £10. Guess we’ve really come a long way to having a plastic card with a VISA logo that can do so much for us. Without the ATM, we’d be conforming to our bank’s schedule and would never be able to get money at our convenience.

The man who invented the cash machine [BBC via Slashdot]