An automatic teller machine or ATM allows a bank customer to conduct their banking transactions from almost every other ATM machine in the world. As is often the case with inventions, many inventors contribute to the history of an invention, as is the case with the ATM. Read each page of this article to learn about the many inventors behind the automatic teller machine or ATM. In 1939, Luther Simjian patented an early and not-so-successful prototype of an ATM. However, some experts have the opinion that James Goodfellow of Scotland holds the earliest patent date of 1966 for a modern ATM, and John D White (also of Docutel) in the US is often credited with inventing the first free-standing ATM design. In 1967, John Shepherd-Barron invented and installed an ATM in a Barclays Bank in London. Don Wetzel invented an American made ATM in 1968. However, it wasn’t until the mid to late 1980s that ATMs became part of mainstream banking. Luther Simjian’s ATM
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Luther Simjian came up with the idea of creating a “hole-in-the-wall machine” that would allow customers to make financial transactions. In 1939, Luther Simjian applied for 20 patents related to his ATM invention and field tested his ATM machine in what is now Citicorp. After six months, the bank reported that there was little demand for the new invention and discontinued its use. Luther Simjian Biography 1905 – 1997
Luther Simjian was born in Turkey on January 28, 1905. While he studied medicine at school, he had a life-long passion for photography. In 1934, the inventor moved to New York. Luther Simjian is best known for his invention of the Bankmatic automatic teller machine or ATM, however, Luther Simjian’s first big commercial invention was a self-posing and self-focusing portrait camera. The subject was able to look a mirror and see what the camera was seeing before the picture was taken. Luther Simjian also invented a flight speed indicator for airplanes, an automatic postage metering machine, a colored x-ray machine, and a teleprompter. Combining his knowledge of medicine and photography, Luther Simjian invented a way to project images from microscopes, and methods of photographing specimens under water. Luther Simjian started his own company called Reflectone to further develop his inventions.