The world's first cash-dispensing machine was conceived in the bathtub. Did you know?

New Delhi, Delhi, India Published: Jan 16, 2017, 09:17 AM(IST)

English actor Reg Varney (1916 - 2008) makes the first withdrawal from a Barclaycash machine, at the Enfield branch of Barclays Bank, 27th June 1967. Photograph:( Getty )

The Enfield Barclaycash is the world's first cash-dispenser. On June 27, 1967, Barclays launched a pilot machine at Enfield branch in North London, allowing customers access to cash 24 hours a day.

Introduced around round 50 years ago, the original machines, also described as mini-banks or cash dispensers or robot cashiers, were available to customers outside of the restrictive opening times of banks during the 1960s.

The world's first cash machine was installed at Barclays Enfield branch in North London. (Others)


The cash machine was created to dispense 10 pounds against a special paper voucher which the customer inserted into the machine followed by a unique 4-digit personal code in much the same way as it is done today.

Advertisement for the fourth of six prototypes of the world’s first through-the-wall cash dispenser. (Others)


The idea to introduce such a machine was conceived by John Shepherd-Barron, who was the managing director of De La Rue back then, while he was relaxing in his bath. He later presented the idea to Harold Darvill, the then chief general manager of Barclays, who found the concept interesting and decided to join hands with De La Rue. The idea moved from conception to installation within 24 months.

The Enfield Barclaycash is the world's first automatic cash dispensing machine. (Getty)


Initially, six such machines were installed at select branches. By the 1970s, the machines had been refined in order to offer not only cash but also bank statements and deposit facilities.

On 30 June 1975, a more sophisticated auto teller machine (ATM) called Barclaybank was introduced. The first two branches to offer the new machines were High Street and Cornmarket Street, Oxford. The machines were operated using a plastic card bearing the name Barclaybank.

According to Barclays, there were 781 cash machines across the world (595 in the UK) by the end of the 1960s. And the number reached 1.64 million worldwide (60,642 in the UK) by the end of 2006.

You can follow our world's first series here.



Read in App