The cashier was invented in the bathtub. John Shepherd-Barron created his gimmick 40 years ago

A soak in the tub. With hot water. Two conditions for a brilliant idea. It is the art of John Shepherd-Barron, the inventor of the ATM. In this Scottish those was 42 years ago, and relaxed in live ball, cradled by the fumes of steaming water, when you view the machine: a replica of chocolate dispensers that spit tickets!, Fabric take full weekend ! Then he realized he had something big hand.

It took two years to implement his moment of enlightenment. A moment that made him go down in history.

It was the only bright idea emerged in the smoky intimacy of the toilet. It was also in the tub where the Scot 82, unredeemed passionate about fishing, invented another system that will be remembered, at least in the collective memory: a espantafocas farmed, a device that emulates whales to prevent seals from eating the salmon.

Another invention that came in the bathroom was the design of a 'espantafocas' farmed

"It's a good place to think when you have a problem," says Shepherd-Barron, laughing, in a phone conversation from his home in Tain, Ross-shire, remote village in the Scottish countryside. Beside him, his wife, Caroline, and eavesdropping from a distance occasionally checking the answers of her husband. Last Wednesday, the inventor of the ATM, which was awarded last year and half by Queen Elizabeth II of England, met his 82 years: "I just drank a glass of cider, I was a good boy."

Eighty seconds clear soon see the CEO of Barclays bank. Eighty seconds. Good ideas are pure gasoline.

A Shepherd-Barron, the thing came on a Saturday, to soak. The following Friday I had the project ready for submission. On Monday, he put it on the table to Barclays. At eighty seconds, the director general of the British firm offered a "Instant contract," he recalls. She worked with four of his employees for two years to get ready that machine was installed first in Enfield, north London, 40 years ago.

"On the banks stopped being arrogant with this invention," he says, proud of his creation. "Before it was they who had the power: with the cashier, he gave power to the customer." Today there are over 1.64 million of these machines in the world. The growth curve of installed ATMs has continued to progress from that legendary 1967.

But the genius idea of Shepherd-Barron was not so well received in all parts of the world. He still remembers, laughing, that summit in Miami. The year was 1968. It had 15 minutes to present his great invention before the American Bankers Association. There were 2,000 people in the auditorium. Only 12 collected the brochure presented. "They said it was another one of those crazy things that happen to the Europeans."

The PIN, however, made it up his wife. Well, she was the one who suggested that there should be four figures. They were sitting in the kitchen talking about the cashier. He had thought of a six-digit PIN code because he remembered perfectly the six digits of your military card. But his wife, Caroline, said it would be operating with only four digits. This man, nothing like send him home for pushing forward projects.

Two years later, Shepherd-Barron himself, former captain of paratroopers in World War II, we noted that it is not even easy to memorize the four digits. It happened to him. He went to withdraw money, in 1968, remember, and did not remember the PIN number. "I felt terribly embarrassed, I had to go to the bank to help me out of the trance." Today the lives of millions of people is associated or one, two or more PIN.