Playing with ATM or Mini Bank

You might find the title of this article a bit odd or thinking what’s it all about? Well, married to an American sometimes give the chance of reflection to the differences and similarity in use of words and the meaning. While driving to a shopping mal the other day, the word ATM came to my mind and I asked; why do you call it ATM – Automatic Teller Machine? (In Norway we call it a Mini Bank) and she said: ‘Because it is!’ LoL. Okay, I know the meaning of the words Automatic and Machine, but Teller? Well she said; ‘a Teller’ is a bank clerk!

Then I started to combine and compare words as I often do: Teller in Norwegian is ‘counting’ so that make sense. Thinking further; I love to find the roots or origin of words (actually I think my wife is getting sick of it and think I am bragging LoL). Let me give you some example of English words originally from Norwegian: Window is ‘Vindu’, Door is ‘Dør’ and Timber is ‘Tømmer’. In some of my earlier post, I’ve told you that our currency some hundred years back was called ‘Daler’ so keen linguists will note the similarity to Dollar.

Enough of this lecturing (you might hope LoL), but: when in the mall, I saw this toy for children and could not resist shoot a pic with my Nokia mobile phone (my blog friend Susie always drill me for that comment – read!):

You see what caught my eyes? Well, click on the pic then and see what I mean :-)

So then you know ATM is called Mini Bank in Norway (good to know when you are visiting you know!) and in Denmark. In Sweden they always make their own twist of words, so they call it BankOMat and that kind of make sense too. I know it’s called ‘Geldautomaat’ in Dutch. What do you call it in your country?

Btw: Did you know that the first mechanical cash dispenser was developed and built by Luther George Simjian and installed 1939 in New York City by the City Bank of New York, but removed after 6 months due to the lack of customer acceptance. Thereafter, the history of ATMs paused for over 25 years, until De La Rue developed the first electronic ATM, which was installed first in Enfield Town in North London on 27 June 1967 by Barclays Bank.

Similar Posts


  1. Such an interesting and educational post. :) Back in the Philippines, we also call it ATM. I guess that’s because we are highly influenced by the American culture. I find “Minibank” cuter to use. :)

    Always want my readers to learn something from my post you know.
    Since your in Noway now, you can always use Mini Bank you know:-)

  2. First of all, congratulations on your move to your new blog home. It looks lovely!
    I have never heard “minibank” but I like the way it sounds. I know some people here who say ATM machine– that is redundant! ;-)
    Best wishes to you for a wonderful week.

    Welcome, as this is your first visit – welcome back and thanks for your compliment!
    You can use Mini Bank from now on then:-)
    Best wishes to you too and good luck with new pictures!

  3. I see your NOKIA MOBLIE PHONE has been your trusty companion once again!
    Do you think we could get money everytime we mention it?
    Did you know, RennyBA, that I used to be a bank teller? Yes, it’s true. Not the automatic kind of course. Playing with all that money was lots of fun!

    My Nokia is always in my belt you know:-) I’ll send a not to Nokia and ask LoL
    Really, I knew you would have been a great teller! So you where a millionaire at least at work then :-)

  4. That’s hysterical. I really dislike ATM’s. Not the actual machine, but paying so much to use one. So I never do.

    That’s interesting. In Norway you don’t pay to use it, only when you are abroad.

  5. i enjoy the linguistic posts and recently have been reading a book about the development of English as the language we know today and there is quite a strong mention of the Nordic connection through the various viking invaders both directly upon the British isles and through the Normans in France.

    I knew you would like it and I how exciting red you have done then. Tell me what book it is as it seams to proof my points!

  6. It is “Geldautomat” in Germany and “Cajero automatico” in Spain, the latter being actually a literal translation of “automatic teller”. Can’t live without them!
    “Taler” are the old coins in German, the ones you can find in children’s stories. Seems similar to your Daler
    Our local paper had a special article on ATMs for their 40th anniversary.

    Thanks for enriching this post by adding your information Mar! The article must have been interesting – any links?

  7. It’s called ‘Geldautomat’ here in Germany and I still call it ATM lol
    It’s very interesting to know about some of the words origin! Very educational post!
    I like that li’l girl shot,she’s so cute in Mini Heli:)

    Thanks – I know you always like to learn something new!
    Yea, the girl was so cute, so I could not resist when I also saw the ATM mark:-)

  8. Inderdaad, wij noemen het ‘geldautomaat’ in Nederland :)
    that heli’s got ‘atm’ written on its side, I wonder what that means? It’s sometimes funny being married to someone w/ a different nationality because you can make each other crazy when one of both of you are lost in translations, my mister and I experience this time and again. But it’s also the best way to learn about stuff.
    hi Renny!

    Thanks for adding the info from Netherlands! Sorry I actually don’t know what the ARM mark means on the helli:-(
    You seams to have the same experience as me then – that’s great – yea; it enriches you life and you learn a lot!

  9. The BR soldier have always scared me a lot. I hate my parents for forcing me to be a “member” of his club – because the “lucky” members received crap with his face on it… Violating.
    In Danish its a “Pengeautomat” or “Hæveautomat”

    Sorry to hear that you had to be a member then!
    Thanks for the information!! I though you said MiniBank too:-)

  10. in the Philippines, we call it ATM here as well. Almost every people in our country own one.
    sometimes, working citizens call it Wage Card or Teller Card.

    I guess you mean the card and not the machine then and everyone who have a bank account in Norway have them too.

  11. In Canada it is also ATM. Interesting that the original was so long ago! Guess people weren’t ready for it then..they sure depend on it now! They save a lot of hassle with having to carry a lot of money. Same with debit cards.

    Glad you got something new from my blog today too then – and yea, great to have when traveling too!

  12. Most interesting, Renny! Since my educational background is linguistics, I love hearing about the etymology of words. How fun!
    And I love your new look. But I also liked your old look! I especially like when you can reply to each comment, as happens on my Shutterchance blog!

    I knew you would like it!
    Thanks for your compliments and support – both on my old and new once! I also feel it’s great to reply to each comments – makes it more personal you know:-)

  13. That’s an interesting post. Here in America, we call it at ATM, but you already knew that :-)
    I love looking at other languages and seeing the similarities. In English, we call words that are very similar between languages “cognates.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognate
    Happy Tuesday!

    Glad you like it and thank for a very interesting link – I do hope others click too!

  14. Hi Renny. Sorry, I did visit. Just didn’t leave a comment here. I left it on BlogCatalog instead. Have a great day.
    ~Sandy G.

    Always good to welcome new readers and good to meet you at BlogCatalog!

  15. When they first came out, we called them “speedbanks” and then that seemed to change to “cash machine”. Sometimes they are just “holes in the wall”!

    I love that word ‘Speedbanks’ – thanks for sharing!

  16. Ha-ha – that was a great picture.
    We are looking forward to see you both in Mariestad.
    (Sorry this short comment – line to day is extremely slow)

    Thanks! You know, Diane and I are so much looking forward to see you both in Mariestad tomorrow!
    To all: Watch out blog friends – there might be some good reports ;-)

  17. Minibank isn’t a bad substitute for ATM after all because it is really a minibank, you just couldn’t deposit. I forgot the name of the bank but there was this bank that only machines are running it and no human intervention. I wonder how they run it. And who’s the manager?

    A quite logic word yes. I’m sorry I can’t help you as I have never heard of the bank you are mentioning – anyone else?

  18. We learn a lot today by you Renny! In France we say “distributeur de billet” or longer “distributeur de billet automatique”. Then with your post I realise that I meet these mini bank very often! More than I would want! Beautiful pic with your nokia!

    Wish I could speak French, but at least now I know how to get some money when visiting!

  19. I use the ATM or “Mini Bank” all the time since my checks are direct deposited into my checking account. I don’t know what I did before they became so popular.

    Congrats on your own domain and the new look of your site!

  20. Well that is very interesting Renny…that first on in 1967 was unsralled on my birthday! I love that you know the origins of this—-And I had no idea there was anything like this tried in 1939….LOL! I guess people thought it was too “futuristic” back then….And now, none of us knows how we lived without them—watever it is called!

  21. I never gave it much thought…but in the Philippines, we pretty much use English words for new invention. We call it ATM.

    Neat info about ATM though. Shouldn’t they call it “personless money machine?”

  22. Renny, you’re a trip! I enjoyed your musings on ATM machines. To me, MiniBank sounds sort of like PiggyBank, something you might not take too seriously.

  23. I recently saw a show on the ATM machine and about Barclay. I’m not sure if I missed the front part of the show though as I didn’t know about the NY guy. Very interesting… And I think mostly in Europe its called the bankomat..

    Haven’t seen that show, but it must have been a great one:-)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.