The Very First Scanning Of A UPC Code Was On A Pack Of Wrigley’s Chewing Gum In 1974


National Barcode Day commemorates more than 40 years of efficiency and accuracy that began on June 26, 1974, when a clerk scanned a 10-pack of Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit gum at a Marsh supermarket in Troy, OH. On that day, the barcode system invented by George Lauer, an IBM engineer, began to change the world.

  • Barcodes, also known as UPC, 1-Dimensional (1D) codes, contain data that help businesses and organizations do their jobs more easily.
  • A more modern version of the barcode is called a QR code, or a 2-dimensional (2D) code. The QR code contains even more data than the 1D code.
  • Barcodes contain a wealth of information, including pricing, product, dates, manufacturer, and shipping.
  • VINs – Tracking a car’s history became easier when a barcode was added to the VIN.
  • Libraries – Barcodes track books, videos, periodicals, resources in and out of the library.
  • Logistics – Every major shipper uses barcodes to track shipments and deliver your orders.
  • Healthcare – Barcodes help keep patient care more streamlined and records at the provider’s fingertips.
  • Agriculture – Farmers use barcodes to track harvests and livestock.
  • A man named Bernard Silver inspired Woodland to invent the barcode. He overheard a food chain executive speaking to the dean at the university he worked at about the need for technology that could help make the checkout process at his store run smoother.
  • The first barcode ‘prototype’ was drawn in the sand on a Miami beach.
  • The First Barcode Symbology Was Patented in 1952 & Looks Like a Bullseye. In the late 1940s, Bernard Silver and Norman Joseph Woodland began researching solutions to automatically read product information during grocery checkout after a request from the food chain Food Fair.
  • The First Use of the Barcode Was to Label Railroad Cars
  • The Very First Scanning of a UPC Code Was on a Pack of Wrigley’s Chewing Gum. In the summer of 1974, a UPC code was scanned for the first time at a grocery market in Ohio. At Marsh supermarket, a 10-pack of Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit gum slid down the conveyor belt to mark the first ever grocery item to be scanned.
  • Code39 barcodes are used to label goods across many industries and are often found in the automotive industry and the US Department of Defense. The barcode was developed by Intermec Corporation in 1975. It enables the use of both digits and characters, and its name originates in the fact that it could only encode 39 characters-though in its most recent version, the character set has been increased to 43.
  • In 1981, US barcode specialist Computer Identics designed the Code 128, which featured a higher data density than the Code 39 along with a check digit to make it more robust against false positives.  The Code 128 barcode  is used worldwide and is common in sectors like warehousing, transport & logistics, manufacturing and healthcare.
  • With probably the coolest name for a barcode symbology – the Aztec is a two-dimensional code.  The Aztec code was invented in 1995 by Andrew Longacre and Robert Hussey. The two worked at medical device manufacturer Welch Allyn. As well as being used in Healthcare, the Aztec is now popular with the transport sector and can be found on train tickets.
  • Aztec was chosen by the airline industry as the standard barcode for electronic boarding passes. So if a boarding pass has been sent to your phone, it is likely to feature an Aztec code. Many train companies from around Europe – including the UK, France, and Switzerland – use it in a similar way.  Unsurprisingly, it’s name derives from the central part of the code, which is said to bear a resemblance to an Aztec pyramid.
  • In February 2004, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ruled that barcodes must be applied to certain medications. Since then, barcodes on medication have included National Drug Codes, which are unique 11-character ID numbers for each type of drug. This small change made identifying and distributing medication to patients much easier.
  • In Seattle, QR codes are inscribed on graves that contain a link to detailed information about the deceased person.
  • According to the barcode monitoring center, at least five billion barcodes are scanned each day.
  • The normal 13-digit barcoding system has the ability to create a thousand billion different codes.


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