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When was the Barcode Invented? (2024 Update)

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In this article, we will explore when the barcode was invented, its history timeline, and how barcodes currently impact technology. Read on to learn more. 

when was barcode invented

When was the Barcode Invented?

The barcode was a pivotal invention in the realm of modern commerce and industry. It was created in 1949 by Bernard Silver and Norman Joseph Woodland to address the growing need for an efficient method of product identification and tracking.

barcode invented

Barcode History Timeline

The history of the barcode is marked by key milestones that revolutionized retail and inventory management. This timeline provides a succinct overview of its evolution from inception to the present day.

1949: Conceptualization by Woodland and Silver

In 1949, Norman Woodland and Bernard Silver conceived the idea of the barcode as a solution to automate checkout processes in grocery stores.

1952: Patent Filing for Bull's-Eye Pattern

Woodland and Silver filed a patent for their barcode concept, introducing a bull's-eye pattern of concentric circles as a potential design.

1966: NAFC Initiates Standardization Efforts

The National Association of Food Chains (NAFC) recognized the need for a standardized barcode system and began efforts to develop one.

1970: Introduction of UPC

The Universal Product Code (UPC) was introduced as a 12-digit barcode system, a significant step towards standardization.

1974: First UPC Scan

In 1974, the first UPC barcode was scanned in a grocery store in Ohio, USA, ushering in a new era for retail and inventory management.

1981: Establishment of UCC

The Uniform Code Council (UCC), now known as GS1 US, was established in 1981 to oversee barcode standards in the United States.

1983: EAN Barcode System

The International Article Numbering Association (EAN International) introduced the European Article Number (EAN) barcode system, a precursor to the Global Trade Item Number (GTIN).

1984: Formation of GS1 International

In 1984, GS1 International was formed to promote global standardization of barcodes and facilitate international trade.

2005: Rise of QR Codes

QR codes gained popularity in 2005, offering a versatile alternative to traditional barcodes, particularly in marketing and mobile applications.

Present: Ongoing Evolution

Barcodes continue to evolve, with 2D barcodes, RFID technology, and smartphone scanning apps playing pivotal roles in modern inventory management and retail operations.

We hope that our article has now left you with a better understanding of when the barcode was invented, its history, evolution, and impact on the digital world.

If you enjoyed this article, you might also like our article to find out if inventory is a liquid asset or our article on who invented the barcode.

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