The History of Cash in Transit and Armored Car Service

Today, financial institutions across the country and the world depend on armored transport providers to package, move and manage cash and other valuables. Though the logistics of armored-car services have changed over time, the cash-in-transit industry (CIT) has consistently played a significant role in the distribution of funds for centuries.

Here is a brief history of cash- and valuables-in-transit and how armored car companies have become vital partners for modern financial institutions.

1485: Leonardo da Vinci designs the first armored vehicle.

The armored-car business stretches all the way back to the 1400s, when famous inventor Leonardo da Vinci drafted a design for what he described as a “safe and unattackable” vehicle.

Eight men would need to propel the vehicle, and 32 cannons would surround the bottom perimeter. Inspired by a turtle’s shell, the design had a conical shape and only provided a visibility gap at the top.

Flaws in the design prevented the vehicle from ever being built, but the idea took root, eventually coming to fruition in the early 1900s. For the cash-in-transit industry, this rough sketch opened up the possibility of agile transportation that leaders could trust to keep their valuables safe.

1860: The horse-drawn wagon becomes a popular way to transport valuables in the U.S.

Some of the earliest known armored-transport businesses began in the mid-1800s with horses and carriages. While services such as The Pony Express focused on delivering mail across long distances, other transportation companies moved parcels and other baggage.

When the use of paper money started to take hold in the U.S., these parcel-transportation services also became trusted sources for moving cash. Though delivery personnel were usually armed, this “Wild West” era is often associated with notable train and stagecoach robberies, which inspired armored transportation providers to develop new ways to strengthen the vehicles themselves.

1877: Stagecoach companies build steel-plated treasure coaches with strong boxes.

After stagecoach driver Johnny Slaughter was killed along the western Cheyenne-Deadwood route, the Cheyenne and Black Hills Stage Company built two steel-plated treasure coaches to deter future robberies.

Named for Johnny Slaughter and a Civil-War ship, the stagecoaches had thick steel plates lining the walls and introduced portholes for armed guards to shoot from, if necessary. Bolted to the floor were strongboxes that the manufacturers claim could withstand assaults for up to 24 hours.

These powerful treasure coaches reduced the liability of transporting valuables, opening doors for both the cash-in-transit and financial industries.

1910: A newly-designed armored car functions as a mobile bank for prominent U.S. financial institutions.

In the early 1900s, the earliest armored cars emerged — several of which were war vehicles. However, in 1910, New York businessman David Bellamore built an armored motor car specifically for the banking industry.

In addition to providing many of the same services as today’s armored transport partners, the Bellamore car also functioned as a mobile bank branch that expanded the operations of financial institutions and significantly increased security.

Protected with steel walls, large safes and loud burglar alarms, the car allowed banks to transfer money and other valuables across long distances with the same — or even more — security as their physical locations.

1967: The first ATM appears at a London bank.

Scotsman John Shepherd-Barron developed the world’s first automated teller machine (ATM) after he couldn’t cash a check because his bank had already closed for the day. He began designing a vending machine-like structure for financial institutions, and he put the first ATM into production shortly after.

Shepherd-Barron’s idea soon exploded in popularity, leading to today’s nationwide networks of ATM services. Armored transportation partners adapted to the increased demand by offering full ATM services to keep the machines running at all times.

2021: Armored transport providers thrive as full-service, customer-centric partners.

Today, armored transportation involves much more than simply moving valuables from one destination to another. Armored car companies provide everything from ATM services and project management to cash logistics.

Instead of merely serving as vendors, armored car companies today are vital partners, providing consistent support to ensure the success of financial institutions across the country and the world.

Axiom Armored provides a full suite of cash management and transportation solutions to ensure financial institutions can run their businesses smoothly, efficiently and securely. Gain peace of mind for you and your team, knowing your money and valuables are in the hands of industry experts. Get started today by calling Axiom at 866-761-6712.

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