ATM Inventor Dies

The recognized inventor of the first-ever cash machine has died at age of 84 in his native Scotland. John Shepherd-Barron, who got the idea of a cash machine from a chocolate bar dispenser, died from a short illness, funeral director Alasdair Rhind said.

Shepherd-Barron, who was born in India on June 23, 1925, came up with the concept of a cash machine after he failed to get money from his bank, which was already closed when he reached it. His idea was brought to fruition with the help of Barclays Bank, which commissioned the construction of the first Automated Teller Machine. The first ATM was placed outside a Barclays branch in Enfield, north London.

Shepherd-Barron’s ATM used checks that used a slightly radioactive substance called carbon 14. The checks were matched against a four-digit personal identification number. Shepherd-Barron had said that he wanted a six-digit PIN but his wife told him that she would be able to remember only four digits. Hence, early ATMs only had four-digit PINs. Around 1.7 million ATMs can now be found all over the world, 43 years since Shepherd-Barron’s invention.