I haven’t had a magnetic numbering job for a couple of years now. They use to come in frequently so I suppose the computers can do it now with magnetic ink. Does anybody still print bank checks with letterpress? I have a full case of type plus a consecutive numbering machine on the shaft. I was thinking of selling it on EBay, but have no idea how much this is worth.
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If your existing numbering box lacks the account number group, and is centre driven, it might just be the long sought
prototype box created by Lethaby & Co, for Eden Fisher & Co, following a back of a fag packet meeting in the Italian cafe near the top of Hatton Garden. in Clerkenwell, London. American cheques in the early days did not have (”magnetic”but actually very breifly magnetisABLE,) serial numbers, but the vastly different UK banking system did call for this and whereas early US cheques had fixed often litho printed fixed numbers the UK had to have numbering boxes - necessarily letterpress. Allowing for letterpress ink squeze required a tiny mod to the type design, sorted by Fishers and Crosfield Ltd. We were first
and that box should be in the Science Museum…
Just an Atlantic, Made in Germany.
I am a little confused by Harrildplaten’s answer. In the U.S., the MICR system for imprinting routing and account information on checks has been around since the mid-1950s using the E13-b characters. My brother was working at Stanford Research Institute at the time on a related project for Bank of America to develop the computer technology to read the characters. Each character—number and symbols—has a different surface area and it is that area, not the number, that is read by the reader head, thus the problem of “squeeze” is built into the area of each character. Based on thousands of different shops printing checks, squeeze would be all over the place as well as density of ink. Shops had special readers to determine if the printing was within allowable specifications. The machine shown by Dennis can be used with hand set or machine set type for the routing information, on us symbols, etc. I’ve done it a number of times and my checks went through the system with no problem. Layout and placement of the numbers has to conform to set standards, so I just copied an existing check and it worked fine.
Same context to the above posts, just slightly different angle, - early 60,s quite normal for Buddies/Mates that had completed apprenticeships together to drop in (usually on night shift for the >freebie< Coffee from Rival firms canteen after being thrown out of late night Coffee Bars, *Juke Joints*! Stateside we believe.?
One such firm still alive and kicking, Smith & Ouzman situate in Glorious (rather chilly) downtown Sussex, found at,
May be worth a look, perhaps for the New Ones.!
Way back early 60,s, already by then, churning out Security Cheques by the Million on Continuous Stationery M/c,s.
Web fed with reels around 18” wide, but with multiple *Heads* turning the blank web into the continuous stationery involving punching Sprocket Holes, Flexo Head(s) for multi colour, Perfing Head, and Numbering, including MAGNETIC. which method as implied above, was not questioned then, too involved, either, liberating the Coffee,? or swapping chat with the Minder,s or laying down the B******T, with the Night Monotype operator.!!
*** By implication (speculation only) attention and memory were/was a long time ago, but the numbering *head,s* must have used Rotary numbering Boxes,!!! as machines like Heidelberg (and similar) G.T.O.s still do.??? . .In which case (presumably) the format of the Numbers and the Driving system(s) must have been unique, at that time, perhaps even remote Shaft Drive as above, on standard Letterpress.
Do we use E&OE anymore,???. . Dont know how to transmit the, Smiley Face logo… Mick
Well, not exactly the area, its a rise or fall in signal that matters. So to take a zero as printed and reading it sideways (at about 30 mph) you get an interpreted signal as 0100010 the two 1s being where the reading heads find the leading edge of the printed image. encountered sideways remember. You then tell the computer that 0100010 represents a zero and so forth. Other figures have more complicated rises but its the same principle. I was at the old LCP with Alan Ouzman. The UK definitely changed the grid size, by one thou., well, Lethaby’s (”Leda”) certainly did after talks with Crosfield and ourselves at Fishers. Monotype casts the same UK std…