MICR ink beginning technology
The workings of MICR toner cartridges and MICR check printer machines used today fall under a bigger umbrella. It's called optical character recognition, and it all started back in 1929 in Germany, where Gustav Tauschek received a patent on OCR. The mechanical or electronic translation of handwritten or typewritten text, captured by a scanner, into text that a machine can read began as a research field.
"Gismo" was invented in the early fifties by David Shepard and his friend Harvey Cook in his attic. He was working as a cryptanalyst for the Armed Forces Security Agency and was asked to make something that could convert printed messages into computer processing language. "Gismo" was patented in 1952 and was the beginning of Shepard's entrepreneurial venture IMR, or Intelligent Machines Research Corporation. The first OCR system was installed by IMR at Reader's Digest in 1955. It is now on display at the Smithsonian Institution. MICR ink methods are still used today, but these older methods relegated to the museums deserve our recognition.
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Oil companies began using OCR systems for reading credit card imprints for billing, and the Ohio Bell Telephone Company use one to read bill stubs. MICR toner cartridges used by quality check printers today hearken back to the days when the United States Air Force used an OCR page scanner to read and send teletype messages. Since 1965, this technology that preceded the invention of MICR ink has been used by the United States Postal Service to sort mail. The inventor Jacob Rabinow was able to take original OCR techniques and design machines suited to the task of sorting all the letters and packages that pass through this behemoth of a postal system.