A short history of MICR

Choz Cunningham's picture

I stumbled across this pdf about Magnetic Ink Character Recognition, and found it enjoyable if a bit dry at the end. The impact of the distinct numerals has had on graphic design and type over the last 50 years to be fascinating. I thought, "I bet there is someone else on 'phile that would find this neato."

The article includes a bit on the source of typeface E-13B's fittingly industrial name, and the forces that called for the design of MICR Numbers for checks.

Si_Daniels's picture

Somewhat releated from a few weeks back...

David H. Shepard, 84, Dies; Optical Reader Inventor

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/11/us/11shepard.html?_r=1&ref=business&or...

Cheers, Si

Choz Cunningham's picture

Mr. Shepard sketched out the familiar boxy numbers on credit cards, called the Farrington B numeric font, on a cocktail napkin at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel...

It is interesting that both an electrical engineer and a r&d team contracted by a consortium of bankers chose to begin with artistic trial and error when targeting machine readability. On the other hand, the UPC would be equally definitive to the genre, and has a much more mechanical "birth".

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