This weekend is a big milestone for all of us in the data collection field. The first barcode patent was filed sixty years ago this Sunday. As you can see, it’s very different from the barcodes we’re familiar with today.
U.S. inventors Norman Woodland and Bernard Silver had devised a way to encode data in a bull’s-eye pattern.
Their idea didn’t immediately take off because the technology to read bar codes wasn’t available. That’s because at least two required components?lasers and digital-image sensors called charged-coupled devices, or CCDs?hadn’t been invented yet.
By then the bar code’s bull’s-eye pattern had been replaced by the black and white vertical lines still used today in the U.S. and Canada?the universal product code, or UPC.
The familiar bar code stripes had been devised to accommodate the archaic printing technology of the day, which dated back to World War I, explained George Laurer, the retired IBM engineer who invented the UPC.
A couple decades later, the barcode made its way into our everyday lives when a pack of gum was scanned at a grocery store in Troy, Ohio. Here’s our interview with the project manager who guided Marsh Supermarket through this process.
For more information about what the barcode can do for your business, contact a product specialist at 1-800-446-1991.