Happy 40th, ATM

'Summer of Love' isn't the only thing that's officially middle-aged.

John Shepherd-Barron, father of the automated teller machine BBC

Forty years ago this week, life changed. There's been plenty of hoopla over the 40th anniversary of the "Summer of Love" and the Beatles appearing on American TV, but this event even affects life on Antarctica: the birth of the ATM. Yes, there's an ATM for researchers down at McMurdo Sound.

Before the first ATM was installed by Barclay's Bank near London in 1967, there was a lot of standing in line and writing of checks, though there were probably a lot fewer $20 bills in the United States back then.

More than $25 billion will be withdrawn from bank accounts around the world today from 1.5 million of the ubiquitous dispensers. In keeping with our status as the most indebted nation in history, we Americans have more than a quarter of the world's ATMs.

Despite some security threats and occasional hacks, there seems to be no worry that ATMs will continue to be the teller of choice for most consumers. And for the record, when you're visiting its birthplace, the United Kingdom, don't ask for the nearest ATM. They're called "cash machines."

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    Harry Fuller escaped from television work to be executive editor at CNET News.com.

     

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