ROCKVILLE CENTRE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – It’s a big day for an invention that changed the way we do banking.
It was 50 years ago this week that marked the debut of the original automatic teller machine in Rockville Centre, reports CBSN New York’s Scott Rapoport.
The first ATM ever was opened Sept. 2, 1969, at a Chemical Bank branch in Rockville Centre, and it changed the banking business forever.
Today in 2019, there are now an estimated 3.5 million ATMs around the globe.
Donald Wetzel, the 93-year-old product developer, is credited with inventing the ATM after he got tired of waiting in long lines at his bank trying to withdraw his money.
“I decided that, you know, I think a machine could get out cash and take deposits, and that’s where I first got the idea,” he said Friday.
“I must admit, it has succeeded way beyond expectations we originally had when we went to market with it,” he said.
He says he never expected his invention to grow into something that would become so big to so many bank customers.
“We didn’t realize we were changing the industry,” he said.
He says it took him about 11 months to turn his idea into a reality.
Wetzel remembers when he told people about his idea to create a box that spits out money. He says he brought it up in a meeting and will never forget the reaction he received: “Are you nuts?”
He says his wife kind of agrees. To this day, Wetzel says, she has never used an ATM.
“She’s scared to death of the machine, primarily because she thinks it will keep her card,” he said.