A predecessor of optical character recognition, in which character images were printed utilizing magnetic ink and read by a machine, commonly used for encoding numbers on checks. Sometimes called E13B characters, they were designed to be deciphered by machines. The metallic ink content allowed the machine to "read" the magnetic pattern and match it to its memory. The characters were designed to eliminate confusion pairs, so that each pattern was unique. (See also MICR Check Paper.) See Optical Character Recognition, which has largely replaced MICR.