I would always take money out of my bank on a Saturday morning. However, one Saturday I was one minute late and it was closed,” he told the London Guardian in 2007. “That night I started thinking there must be a better way to get cash when I wanted it.
The innovative thought of a workable cash vending machine struck him while taking a bath! He modeled his dream machine on a chocolate vending machine which dispenses bar chocolates when money is put. After two years his idea took shape when the first ATM devised by him was installed at a branch of Barclays in a north London suburb on June 27, 1967. As plastic bank cards had not been invented then, special chemically coded checks were used in this machine. Customers needed to place the checks in a drawer and on entering a personal identification number, a 10 Pound note would come out of a second drawer.
It is interesting to note that though Mr. Shepherd-Barron had originally planned to have a six digit personal identification number, it was cut short to 4 digit after his wife, Caroline, complained that she was finding it difficult to remember six digits.
According to the London Daily Telegraph, Mr. Shepherd-Barron did not patent his system and did not profited from his path breaking invention. However in the year 2004, he was awarded an Officer of the Order of the British Empire decoration for his services to banking. At present there are over 1.7 million ATMs around the world, which has made banking services a lot more simpler and enjoyable to millions of customers all over the world.