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How vending machines, pink gin and a bathtub changed how you get your money – Advent Calendar Day 16

For today’s fact, we are sharing a story about money. Namely, how one Scottish man found a way to get your cash easier and quicker, and how it all began with vending machines, pink gin and a bath! 


We are, of course, talking about the invention of the ATM or CashPoint machine. Believe it or not, this innovation was first thought up in the humble bathtub! 


Scottish inventor John Shepherd-Barron was soaking in the bath after being frustrated that he couldn’t withdraw his money after the bank shut.


Of his time pondering in the tub, he said, “It struck me there must be a way I could get my own money, anywhere in the world or the UK.”


It was in this moment that he had his lightbulb moment and decided that there must be a way to make a chocolate vending machine – but instead of dispensing Cadburys, it gave you your hard-earned cash. 


He pitched the idea to the head of Barclays Bank over a glass of pink gin, and the ATM machine was born. 


The first-ever machine was installed outside of a Barclays branch in Enfield, London, and it was such a momentous occasion that they had a local celebrity make the very first withdrawal. 


Sadly, Shepherd-Barron passed away in 2010, but his invention has continued to make life easier for the population, with the UK alone recording 52,951 cash machines in 2021. 


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