Category Archives: Automation

Cash Flow: First ATM Installed

Today in 1969, Chemical Bank installed the first ATM in the U.S. at its branch in Rockville Centre, New York. The first ATMs were designed to dispense a fixed amount of cash when a user inserted a specially coded card. A … Continue reading

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Race Against the Machine Watch

Today in 1811, the first Luddite attack in which knitting frames were actually smashed occurred in the Nottinghamshire village of Arnold. Kevin Binfield in Writings of the Luddites: “The grievances consisted, first, of the use of wide stocking frames to produce … Continue reading

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Automated Telephone Switching

Today in 1891, Almon Brown Strowger was issued a patent for his electromechanical switch to automate telephone exchanges. Steven Lubar in InfoCulture: “…a Kansas City undertaker, Strowger had a good practical reason for inventing the automatic switchboard. Legend has it that his … Continue reading

Posted in AT&T, Automation, Bell Labs, Telephone, This day in information | 1 Comment

IBM and The First Social Security Check

Today in 1940, Ida M. Fuller became the first person to receive an old-age monthly benefit check under the new Social Security law. Her first check, dated January 31, was for $22.54. The Social Security Act was signed into law by Franklin … Continue reading

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“I’m the Oldest Criminal in History”: Why the Cash Register Was Invented

Today in 1883, James Ritty, a saloonkeeper in Dayton, Ohio, and John Birch received a patent (No. 271,363) for the first cash register, nicknamed the “Incorruptible Cashier.” There was a bell to ring up sales, referred to in advertising as “The Bell Heard … Continue reading

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Patent for Multiple Telephone Switchboards Granted

Today in 1882,  U.S. Patent No. 252, 576  for a “a new system for multiple [telephone] switchboards” was granted to Leroy B. Firman. For more on telephone switchboards, see here and here and here.

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Ray Bradbury 1920-2012

In 1950, typing rapidly on a pay-by-the-hour typewriter in UCLA’s library basement, Ray Bradbury completed in just nine days the first draft of what will become Fahrenheit 451. In the book, which was published in 1953, Bradbury described a society … Continue reading

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