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John Shepherd-Barron
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    (June 23, 1925-May 15, 2010)
    Born in Meghalaya, India
    Invented the automated teller machine (ATM)
    First ATM installed outside Barclays Bank on Enfield Street in North London (June 27, 1967)
    His status as inventor of the ATM is disputed, with Luther Simjian and James Goodfellow also being credited.
    His first ATMs pre-dated plastic cards with magnetic strips; instead, they used checks printed with radioactive carbon-14 in the ink.
    The PIN ended up at four numbers because his wife said that was the longest string she could memorize.
    He invented a device to play the sounds of killer whales to scare away seals raiding his salmon farm, but noted, 'It's ended up only attracting them more.'
    He was inspired to develop the ATM after arriving at the local bank one minute after it had closed for Saturday, forcing him to cash a check at the local garage.
    Only nine days after sketching out his original concept, he had a contract with Barclays to build six prototypes.
    He said there were no health concerns from the radioactive checks: 'I later worked out you would have to eat 136,000 such cheques for it to have any effect on you.'
    Asked if he anticipated the popularity of the ATM, he said, 'Yes. I knew it would change banking.'

Credit: C. Fishel

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