The ubiquitous automated teller machine (ATM) is now an integral part of our lives. With the rapid growth of digital transactions in our day to day life, standing in a long queue during transaction hour in a bank for withdrawing or sending money has become a thing of the past. On June 27 ATM turned 51. But how many of us know that the man who had invented the machine and revolutionized the transaction system was born in Shillong?
We are talking about John Adrian Shepherd-Barron, the inventor of ATM. He was born on June 23, 1925 in Shillong. His father Wilfred Shepherd-Barron, was chief engineer of the Chittagong Port Commissioners in North Bengal and mother Dorothy, was an Olympic tennis player and Wimbledon ladies doubles champion.
Shepherd-Barron studied at Stowe School, the University of Edinburgh and Trinity College, Cambridge (from where he dropped out before successfully finishing the first year in Economics).
He joined De La Rue in the 1950s as a management trainee and became Managing Director of De La Rue Instruments.
He mooted the idea for a self-operating cash dispensing machine when he failed to withdraw money because he turned up after banking hours. He was inspired by the chocolate vending machines.
The first De La Rue Automatic Cash System (DACS) machine, called Barclaycash, was installed outside the Enfield branch of Barclays Bank in north London in June 1967.