10 + Times Barcodes Made History - Test Your Knowledge

10 + Times Barcodes Made History - Test Your Knowledge

Barcode Basics | 22 March 2017

Posted by Lisa Sarvie

10+ Times Barcodes Made History - Test Your Knowledge

Did you know barcodes date back to 1948? Barcodes are everywhere – and have been for quite some time. We’re so used to seeing them that we usually don’t give them a second thought. But, these unassuming little groups of lines and spaces are incredibly important to modern life. What’s more, the story of barcodes and what they can do is truly an amazing one!

Back in 1948 in the USA, the fast-growing supermarket sector was desperate for some way of storing and retrieving product information at the checkout. Norman Woodland and Bernard Silver believed they had the answer. This was the beginning of barcoding which, continues to evolve today. Here are the highlights:

  • 1948: Americans Norman Woodland and Bernard Silver begin to experiment with symbol based coding. Woodland and Silver extended the dots and dashes of Morse Code into lines, combining this with a scanning system originally designed for ‘reading’ the audio track attached to movie film.

  • 1958: The first workable system is launched based on ‘bull’s eye’ format.

  • 1966: Computype is founded in St. Paul, Minnesota.

  • 1967: One of the first applications, the US railroad companies track rolling stock movements by barcodes (barcodes like those we would recognise and in use, today).

  • 1971: Two automobile/motor companies begin to track components on production lines via barcodes.

  • 1974: A pack of Wrigley’s chewing gum becomes the first product scanned by an IBM UPC system – the code that has become the world standard.

  • 1977: The New York Marathon uses barcode scoring.

  • 1980: 8,000 grocery stores a year are introducing barcodes.

  • 1981: Code 39 is adopted by US military for marking everything from boots to warheads.

  • 1984: Barcode production becomes the sole business focus of Computype.

  • 1991: ‘Bars & Stripes’ software system was introduced, making barcodes cheaply available to smaller organizations.

  • 1992: Ted Williams develops the ‘checkerboard style’ barcode known today as a 2-D code.

  • 1992: Norman Woodland receives the US National Medal of Technology for his invention of the barcode.

  • 1995: Computype invents a chemical-resistant slide label for automated histology staining.

  • 2016: Computype discovers that RFID tags can be embedded into barcode labels and subsequently scanned/read to assist tire manufacturers in making real-time data decisions.

  • 2017: Computype introduces a direct mark technology that enables a barcode to be marked right on to containers (no adhesive!) enabling labware to be automatically scanned in workflow systems.

At Computype, we’ve been working with barcodes for many years and we’re still amazed by how they can be applied in so many variations - enhancing the barcoding history is what we do best! Whatever your business, whatever your requirements, Computype can help you achieve a barcode solution which genuinely boosts your efficiency and productivity.

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Lisa Sarvie

Lisa Sarvie is the Director of Customer Excellence here at Computype. From St Paul, MN, she works very closely with customers to ensure a positive experience. Lisa’s team works to ensure the customer experience with Computype is consistently satisfactory. Additionally, her team manages customer accounts to ensure all needs and specifications are consistently met.