Home Pop Culture Technology Automatic Teller Machines (ATM’s)

Automatic Teller Machines (ATM’s)

Before Automatic Teller Machines (ATM’s) were everywhere you had to withdraw your cash from a large building with human tellers and queues. OK, so we still have the queues but at least they’re outside . . .

It was called “A Bank” and was only open during business hours.


People went there on payday, waited in a queue and made a deposit (keeping some cash for the weekend). Sure, some people had cheques and credit cards, but you couldn’t buy beer at the local pub with those!

The rest of us had to watch our money and people really did stay at home on Sundays because they were out of cash and there was no way to get more until the Bank reopened on Monday.

Sounds primitive, doesn’t it? Of course, the downside of the ATM is that everything suddenly became an impulse purchase and life became simpler, more casual . . . and more expensive (and now nobody seems to live within their means or have any kind of savings). That’s called “progress”.

By the way – It’s not an “ATM Machine” because ATM actually stands for Automatic Teller Machine . . . so that would make it an Automatic Teller Machine Machine wouldn’t it?

The world’s first ATM cash dispenser was installed on 27 June 1967 at Barclay’s Bank in Church Street, Enfield in England.

It was opened by Reg Varney (pictured above) who was infinitely more famous as Stan Butler the bus driver in the British comedy On The Buses. A blue plaque marks the spots today.