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  • ATM 的發明想領就領,一卡在手提錢超方便


    7 十二月 2015 EZ叢書館

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    身上沒錢時,只要走進附近的銀行或便利商店(convenience store),即可找到 ATM 提款機領錢(withdraw)。你聽過約翰・薛佛巴倫(John Shepherd-Barron)嗎?正是他發明(invent)ATM提款機,改變了人們的生活和消費習慣。以下文章介紹約翰與他的ATM的小故事。

    In 1950, John joined De La Rue, a company that prints and provides paper for many of the world’s currencies. Starting out as a management trainee, he moved quickly up the ranks. John established the company’s North American operations in the late 1950s, and then returned to England to take up a senior management position.

    一九五○年,約翰加入替許多國家印刷貨幣及提供用紙的德拉魯公司。他一開始只是儲備幹部,後來便扶搖直上。約翰在一九五○年代晚期為公司設立北美分公司,然後回到英國擔任高級主管。

    John had the habit of dropping by the bank each Saturday to cash checks. But one day he was running late, and arrived at the bank one minute after closing time. He realized that he would be without cash for the weekend, and was annoyed at the inconvenience. “It’s my money,” he thought to himself. “Why can’t I withdraw it whenever I want?”

    約翰有每星期六到銀行兌現支票的習慣。不過,有一天他來不及了,人到銀行時已經過了打烊時間一分鐘。他知道自己那個週末將沒有現金可用,這種不便讓他又氣又惱。「那是我的錢,」他心想。「我為什麼不能隨心所欲地想領就領?」

    Like Archimedes before him, John has his eureka moment while taking a bath. Sitting in the tub that evening, he continued to ponder the problem. He thought of the chocolate vending machines that were common on the platforms at British train stations, and that’s when the answer came to him. If there were machines that provided chocolate bars around the clock, why couldn’t someone invent a similar machine to provide money?

    一如古代的阿基米德,約翰也在洗澡時靈機一動。那一晚,他坐在浴缸裡,繼續思忖這個問題。他想到英國火車站月台上常見的巧克力自動販賣機,於是解答就此誕生。如果有機器夜以繼日地供應巧克力,為什麼沒有人能發明類似的機器讓人領錢呢?

    Barclays ordered six of John’s cash machines, which he called ATMs, or automated teller machines. The first ATM was installed at a Barclays branch in the north London suburb of Enfield on June 27, 1967. To promote the event, actor Reg Varney, the star of a popular British sitcom, was on hand to make the first cash withdrawal.

    巴克萊銀行跟約翰訂了六部領鈔機。約翰稱它作 ATM,即「自動櫃員機」。第一部 ATM 於一九六七年六月二十七日安裝在倫敦北部郊區恩菲德的巴克萊分行。為了替這個創舉打廣告,他們邀請備受歡迎的英國情境喜劇明星雷格・法尼到場,成為第一個用 ATM 領取現金的人。

    John’s ATM was an immediate success, and before long competitors in England and other countries were producing similar machines. Today, there are nearly two million ATMs— which now use plastic cards instead of radioactive checks— around the globe. In 2005, John was awarded the Order of the British Empire for his services to the banking industry.

    約翰的 ATM 立刻大獲成功,不久,英國和其他國家的競爭對手紛紛製造類似的機器。如今全球有將近兩百萬部 ATM ──現在是用塑膠卡片取代具有放射性的支票。二○○五年,約翰因為他對銀行業的貢獻而獲頒大英帝國勳章。

    單字字彙
    currency (n.) 貨幣,錢
    senior (a.) 資深的,地位較高的
    drop by (phr v) 順道去拜訪
    cash (v.) 把(支票、匯票等)兌現
    annoy (n.) 惹惱,令人討厭
    inconvenience (n.) 不便,麻煩
    withdraw (v.) 提取,提領
    ponder (v.) 思索,仔細考慮,衡量
    vending machine (n.) 自動販賣機
    around the clock (phr.) 一天二十四小時,日以繼夜
    on hand (phr.) 出席的,在場的,在手邊的
    globe (n.) 地球,地球儀,球體

    摘選自《EZTalk總編嚴選:改編人類生活的創意發明Eureka!

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