An experimental machine has been designed and constructed to be used for optical character recognition. As an integral part of the recognition system, an optical character scanner has been built which optically scans a 35mm microfilm transparency and provides binary information for the rest of the character recognition system. An IBM 1401 computer system delivers gross commands to the character recognition machine, allowing the scanner and other parts of the system to be partially autonomous. The experimental system has been used to study the problems of character recognition. It offers opportunity for considerable flexibility to do research experiments, and it is not intended to be a prototype of a commercial recognition machine.