The self-service machines IBM and AT&T

After the prototypes of self-service postal office that were working in test in Madrid during 1993 and 1994, Spanish Posts displayed the February 6th, 1996 the new IBM and AT&T self-service machines.

The new machines, equipped with touch screens, were of two types : Postal ( called Autómata I ) and communications machines ( Autómata II ) :

The postal self-service IBM machine was programmed to sell ATMs or variable value stamps ( Klüssendorf type ) and prefranked postal cards, and was equipped with a balance. Also it could offer information on telegraphic and postal services, philately, new items, postal tariffs and codes, Post offices, publications and announcements. 

The AT&T communications machine included one scanner and allowed the shipment of telegraphic and postal order, to send a fax or a national or international telegram, as well as to ask for the acquisition of philatelic items. Also it could provide identical information that the postal machine and still more complex operations, as the pursuit of Express shipments, to formulate claims, suggestions and other questions. 

This great postal project proposed the installation of 100 self-service machines ( 50 of each type, with an investment of more than 700 million pesetas ) in 10 Spanish provinces ; provinces with high demography or important tourist infrastructure, Post offices with a high volume of correspondence, commercial centres, airports and railway stations, and places where the attention to the post users was insufficient. 
In all of this self-service machines it was possible to pay with coins and banknotes, but in theory also with credit cards, and they gave a receipt of the purchase. 

Finally all the expected machines were not installed and it seems that they had many problems of operation and maintenance ; An incredible failure that culminated with the removal of all the machines installed in Spanish geography.

Until the middle of 2000 two of these machines could be still seen, out of service, in the entrance hall to the Main Post office in Barcelona.

    Information : El Correo Postal y Telegráfico nº 74
    Photographs : Manuel Alcántara Carrera, Treasurer of the Alminar Association. Malaga, August 1996

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