Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Proto-ATMs: the Curbside Teller

In 1955, Duplex Electric Company patented a Curb Teller designed by inventor Clarence D. Ellithorpe. The company marketed the product to urban banks that did not have adequate space to accommodate a drive-up window. Ellithorpe's CT required a bank employee be lodged in a subterranean chamber (diagram above).

The customer, described in company brochures as the "autoist," would push a button to signal the teller, who could see the customer above via a bullet-proof glass protected periscope. The teller would then send a miniature elevator up the shaft to collect transaction documents, which could then be sent down to the teller.

Images above: Duplex Electric Company. "Curb Tellers" Brochure. New York: n.d. Architectural Trade Catalogs Collection, Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collection Division, Tulane University Libraries.