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Barcode Labels History - Part 1

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Let's start 77 years ago   Happy Birthday
Barcodes Turn 35!
Wallace Flint's Thesis Paper, circa 1932 - The Idea Was Born!     barcode birthday
happy birthday image by kenny barela
You may think barcode labels have been around forever, but in reality they have only been in use widely since the 1970's. It is interesting to note that a fellow by the name of Wallace Flint proposed an automated checkout system in 1932. The idea, involving scannable punch cards, was presented in his thesis paper written when he was a Harvard business student. At the time he was way ahead of the time and the idea was quite unworkable with existing technology. His career brought him back in line with the history of barcode labels though, and some 40 years later while he was VP of the Association of Food Chains, he helped develop the UPC code that is in use by barcode label scanners today. The main focus for barcode labels was grocery checkout but soon after many other commercial and industrial uses jumped on board.

 

Birthday Kudos to Bernard Silver and Norman Woodland for making it happen!
The barcode had a few birthday's in 2009. It was the 35th anniversary of the actual use of barcodes on June 26th, 1974. It was also the 57th anniversary of the patent being granted to issued to inventors Joseph Woodland and Bernard Silver on October 7, 1952. Actually, you can even trace the idea back farther to the date Woodland and Silver filed their patent application for the "Classifying Apparatus and Method" on October 20th, 1949. They described their invention as "article classification using the medium of identifiable patterns". So, it looks like barcode labels are 35, 57, 60 or 61 years old this year depending on how you look at it!     Today the barcode is an automatic identification and data collection mark that has revolutionized commerce, shipping and logistics around the world. Well over a half million companies use the UPC (in the US) and UPC's are scanned about 10 billion times every day! As technology marches forward, there are rivals coming up like RFID devices (Radio-Frequency IDentification). The acronym refers to tiny electronic devices that use a small chip combined with an antenna to allow for trackability and storage of information. Although change dominates the landscape, the trusted barcode has a place in commerce that is well established and we will surely see barcode labels for many years to come.
Even Google Got into the Birthday Fun on Oct 7, 2009 - Scan it and it says Google
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history of barcode labels

You're on Part One Continue with Part Two

 

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