Philip Lippard

Please say it ain't so

First Automated Teller Machine (ATM) installed on this day in 1967

Now here is an interesting article that hits close to home.   The first modern automated teller machine was installed on this day (27-Jun) in 1967 in Enfield, Middlesex.

The ATM was invented by Scot John Shepherd-Barron. The world's first ATM was installed in a branch of Barclays in the northern London borough of Enfield, Middlesex, in 1967. Inspiration had struck Mr Shepherd-Barron, now 82, while he was in the bath.


Reg Varney (in the photo to the right), is pictured here in 1967 using the first modern ATM.  Who is Reg Varney ?...I have no idea.

So, why do we care ?  Because ATMs were at one time a major part of my life.  I became involved with ATMs in the mid-1970s with the offline Docutel units, in fact initially all ATMs operated in offline mode, offline mode meaning there was no real-time data communications interface to a computer for funds verification purposes.  I became involved with ATMs while providing consulting to First Union National Bank (FUNB) in downtown Charlotte, NC.  The FUNB ATM network was of the online variety using IBM's newly announced IBM 3624 ATM, a first at the time.  The ATM system developed at FUNB would be licensed to Security Pacific National Bank (SPNB) in 1979, and I would also move to Los Angeles along with the product.  SPNB's deployment of the IBM 3624 network would be one of the largest ATM networks in the United States.  The IBM 3624 also became a rather popular ATM for its time, in fact most of the major ATM hardware manufacturers would emulate the IBM 3624 for competitive reasons.

FUNB and Wachovia merged in 2001, regrettably creating the Wachovia as we know it today, which virtually collapsed in Dec-2008 and was then acquired by the Wells Fargo Bank.  SPNB was acquired by the Bank of America in 1992.

I co-founded Nexus Software in June 1985 and moved away from unattended devices such as ATMs, and moved more into software development for attended devices, such as specialized financial industry printers, magnetic stripe readers and other financial industry specific devices typically found in a retail branch.

However, because of Nexus' involvement with the European based International standard called WOSA/XFS and ActiveXFS, Nexus Software was acquired by The Diebold Corporation in Oct-1999.  Diebold was and still is one of the world's largest manufacturers of ATMs.  The other major ATM manufacturers today include Diebold, NCR and Siemens-Nixdorf.

For me, I rarely use an ATM any longer.  In many respects, an ATM is now a relic of the past.  I always use my debit card...