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Barcode birthday: 26 June

Barcode birthday - 26 June

On 26 June 1974, the barcode was used for the first time to scan a product – a pack of Wrigley’s Juicy Chewing Gum at Marsh Supermarket in Troy, Ohio. Let us all celebrate the barcode birthday by heading off to the nearest store, picking up a pack and chewing gum all day long!

By the way, the first patent for barcode was issued on 7th October 1952 to Joseph Woodland and Bernard Silver. They had filed for it on 20 October 1949. The barcode in the original patent was quite different from what we see on products today and consisted of series of concentric circles.

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Some might consider the patent-filing or patent-issue date as the birthday of the barcode. But don’t you think the day the idea was put to actual use is more important?

The Woodland and Silver patent (US Patent 2,612,994) was called Classifying apparatus and method and that it exactly what it was meant to be – categorising and classifying items. Here are some interesting facts about the invention of the barcode

  • Bernard Silver, a graduate student at Drexel Institute of Technology, came up with the idea of the barcode when he heard the president of a local food chain in Philadelphia asking one of the deans to develop a system to automatically read product information upon scanning.
  • Silver shared his idea with Norman Woodland who was took inspiration from Morse code.
  • Woodland created his first barcode in sand on a beach in Florida.
  • Woodland believed that the barcode would work better with circles instead of lines because that way it can be scanned from any direction.
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