India-born inventor of the first ATM , dead

India-born Scot John Shepherd-Barron, inventor of the Automated Teller Machine (ATM), has died after a short illness, aged 84. He is survived by his wife, three sons and six grandchildren.

Mr. Shepherd-Barron, who had been living in Portmahomack in Ross-shire, died at the Inverness's Raigmore Hospital in northern Scotland on Saturday, funeral director Alasdair Rhind told the media.

The businessman, who worked for a printing firm at the time, came up with the concept of a self-service cash dispenser in 1965 while lying in the bath after getting to his bank too late to withdraw money.

“It struck me that there must be a way I could get my own money, anywhere in the world or the United Kingdom. I hit upon the idea of a chocolate bar dispenser, but replacing chocolate with cash,” Mr. Shepherd-Barron had said in a 2007 interview.

The first ATM was installed at a London bank in 1967. Reg Varney, a star from the popular television show On the Buses, became the first person to withdraw cash.

The first ATM was operated by inserting a special cheque that was matched against a Personal Identification Number number. This paved the way for the machines using plastic cards. Now, there are nearly two million ATM machines worldwide.

Mr. Shepherd-Barron, who was born to Scottish parents in 1925, married Caroline Murray, daughter of Sir Kenneth, the former chairman of the Royal Bank of Scotland. The couple moved to Easter Ross estate when he retired.
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