Bar coding has been in use since the 1930s with many variations of fonts and added security built within. One of the more common fonts is the code 39, widely used within the transport industry to track parcels. These can be produced by various means these days and mechanical numbering heads are still an option. The quality of scanning equipment has improved over the years which allows for even a reduced size and height of the characters to be scanned from up to a meter or more. Bar codes can also be hot foil stamped on various substrates like plastic as on crates and rubbish bins.
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