Happy Birthday! Would You Like a Receipt?

While the rest of the world is looking ahead to the allegedly life-changing imminence of the iPhone, the Times’ consistently intriguing ephemera blog, the Lede, takes a look back at some actually life-changing technology. The ATM, it seems, turned 40 today. As noteworthy as we find that milestone, we’re much more jazzed about the photo the Times turned up to illustrate the story: a 1968 shot of a woman using what might well have been New York’s first ATM at the headquarters of the First National City Bank (which you know and love as Citibank). The text on the wall sign next to the machine, in case you can’t quite make it out: “This experimental cash-dispensing machine may be the forerunner of sophisticated electronic devices that will increase our capabilities to provide round-the-clock banking services. The machine dispenses a fixed amount of cash when a customer inserts a special card and keys in his own personal identification number. ‘The Cash Station’ is an electronic substitute for the conventional check-cashing system.” We like that term, “Cash Station.” We think we’re going to start using it.

Drop That iPhone and Wish an ATM ‘Happy Birthday [The Lede/NYT]