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The History of the Development and Creation of Barcodes

  • 1890- Punch cards (pieces of paper with holes punched in certain categories) began to be used as ways to keep track of store inventory. The punch cards were then inserted into a basic reader to keep track of products being sold. 
  • 1890- Punch cards (pieces of paper with holes punched in certain categories) began to be used as ways to keep track of store inventory. The punch cards were then inserted into a basic reader to keep track of products being sold. 
  • 1952- The first patent barcode was issued to inventors of the names Joseph Woodland and Bernard Silver. This barcode was deemed the “bull’s eye” as it was made up of a series of small circles.
  • 1962- The large and successful company Philco bought the “bull’s eye code” patent from creators Woodland & Silver.
  • 1966- The first commercial barcode was used.
  • 1969- The first set of barcode systems were installed at a General Motors and another at a General Trading Company. This manufacturing scanner and barcode system only had the capacity to hold two characters of data.
  • 1970- A standard set of industry barcodes was written by Logicon Inc. This standard barcode was known as the “Universal Grocery Products Identification Code” or UGPIC, for short.
  • 1971- Philco sold the original barcode patent to company RCA. RCA launched several companies into gaining an interest in the use of barcodes.
  • 1972- RCA continued to push their bulls-eye barcode, but testing of the barcode found that their were multiple problems with both scanning and printing the code.
  • 1973- The Universal Grocery Products Identification code was turned into a UPC (Universal Product Code) symbol by a man of the name George Laurer.
  • 1974- The first scanner of Uniform Product Codes was installed in a grocery store in Ohio. The very first product to be scanned with the UPC scanner and symbol combination was Wrigley’s Gum.
  • 1978- Scanners in grocery stores were very uncommon because of the costs of installation, but tests began showing that the cost would pay off in a short amount of time.
  • 1981- By 1981, about ten percent of all grocery stores in the United States had scanner/barcode systems installed.
  • 1984- The number of stores with barcode systems in place jumped to thirty-three percent of all stores, in just three years.
  • 1991- A barcode software system was created that allowed small businesses to use the barcode system without a huge expense. This software was named “Bars & Stripes” and quickly became the largest barcode software system in the entire industry. 
  • 1992- Woodland received a National Medal of Technology from President George Bush for his creation of the barcode.
  • 1994- The first Quick Response, 2D barcode was developed by Toyota to track automobiles during the manufacturing process. 
  • 2001- Reportedly over one million businesses, in twenty different industries, located in more than 100 countries all around the world, use the U.P.C. barcode systems for inventory and tracking purposes.