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France Elevates the ATM to Frenchiest Imaginable Level of Frenchness

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John Shepherd-Barron, a former executive with British printing firm De La Rue, is credited with dreaming up the Automatic Teller Machine in 1967.

In a 2004 op-ed on, Mike Lee, CEO of the ATM Industry Association, wrote that Shepherd-Barron “is a man whose name deserves to stand alongside that of Alexander Graham Bell. But the inventor of the cash dispenser is virtually unknown.”

Shepherd-Barron says the inspiration for the ATM came to him while taking a bath.

“It struck me there must be a way I could get my own money, anywhere in the world or the UK,” he told the BBC. “I hit upon the idea of a chocolate-bar dispenser, but replacing chocolate with cash.”

Over cocktails, Shepherd-Barron struck a deal with Barclays to develop the machine. The first one was installed on June 27th, 1967, in Enfield, North London.

It dispensed a maximum of £10 at a time, and Reg Varney, from the British sitcom On the Buses, was the first to use it.

Sadly, Shepherd-Barron's dream of providing chocolate to peckish Londoners was not to be. However, Parisian baker Jean-Louis Hecht has managed to pull off a Gallic miracle -- the baguette-dispensing-ATM-style-device-that's-not-really-an-ATM:

Explains Metro UK:

Mr Hecht, who lives above the bakery he owns, was almost forced to come up with the 24-hour idea after his customers would continually come knocking at his door looking for bread even though he was closed.

"My wife said: 'We'll never get any peace,'" he tells the Guardian. "So I said, 'We'll put out a bread distributor and we'll be left alone.'"

Though some baking purists oppose the idea, Hecht is undeterred.

"It's like with banks: before, everyone went to a teller; now, everyone uses cash dispensers," he says. "It will be the same with bread: today, everyone goes to the bakery; tomorrow, they'll go to the baguette dispenser."

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Boulangerie Mathurin [Store sign reads La Boulenge d’Antan]

Tél: 01 4208 7828

20, avenue Mathurin Moreau Paris 19th

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