Barcode Technology Timeline

For the purposes of inventory tracking in stores a Universal Product Code or bar code was invented. The bar code today dates back to the early 1930’s. Two college students took on a project which would make shopping easier for customers after overhearing a conversation the dean of their school was having. The customers needed to remove the card from the catalog which corresponded with the item they were purchasing. They would then pass the card to the clerk and the clerk placed it into a reader. The reader, which contained the product information, would submit the information to update the inventory. The product would be delivered immediately to the desk, so the customer could make their purchase. Long before bar codes, punch cards were developed to make life a little easier. Now bar codes can be found not only as UPC codes on products but is two-dimensional codes known as QR codes. The QR codes are used everywhere. They can be created and used by anyone making every ones life easier.

1890 – Punch cards were first developed to help take the 1890 census.

1930 – 1940 – The concept of the linear bar code was first developed in the mid-thirties.

1948 – This year marked the beginning of the current bar code when two college students, Joseph Woodland and Bernard Silver, overheard a request made to the dean of their school at a local food fair.

1949 – Woodland and Silver file for a patent describing both the linear and bull’s eye type bar code systems. They also patented what would be necessary have the ability to read the codes.

1952 – Woodland and Silver are issued a patent for the first bar code product. The patent was later purchased by Philco and later sold to RCA.

1962 – At the age of thirty-eight, Bernard Silver passes away never getting to witness the commercialization of the bar code.

1966 – The National Association of Food Chains first utilized bar code technology because they wanted a faster way to check out customers.

1967 – Bar code standard is adopted by the Association of American Railroads and is used on the entire fleet of equipment.

1969 – Computer Identics Corp., started by David Collins, is the first company whose entire line of products is based on bar code technology.

1972 – Dr. David Allais develops the Interleaved 2 of 5 code. This is a code which consists of numbers only and can be as long as needed in order to store the encoded information.

1973 – Committee on Uniform Grocery Product Code suggests that bar code technology should be used on products throughout the United States.

1974 – The Code 39 was produced by Dr. David Allais. Code 39 is the first alphanumeric bar code symbology.

1981 – Department of defense launches a program using code 39. This system, which is called the Logistics Applications of Automated Marking and Reading Symbols. It is still used by the Department of Defense today.

1982 – Normand introduces the first CCD scanner, Dallas hosts Scan Tech, the first AIT trade show and Symbol Technologies launch the first handheld scanner.

1984 – Europe holds the first Scan Tech convention. Scan Tech is a manufacturer and distributor of bar code products and have been in business since 1979.

1994 – Peter Collins founded A2B Tracking Solutions. The Checkerboard symbology Data Matrix is invented, and the first bar code software for mobile computing is also invented.

1999 – QR codes were registered in Japanese Industrial Standards. The codes were also adopted as the standard two-dimensional symbol.

2005 – Airlines implement a typical bar code on boarding passes. A few years later the bar code would be updated to include mobile phone symbologies and, in 2009, it was updated additionally to contain a field for digital signatures. Eventually bar codes used in airlines will be updated to the format of near field communications.

2008 – Mobile phones are equipped with the technology to allow two-dimensional bar codes which can be used as electronic boarding passes.

Present Day QR bar codes are being used almost everywhere. They can be found on websites, signs, and even on decorative items within the home. They can be used by anyone, for any reason, and although it is unknown how long they will be around, they are currently only showing signs of gaining in popularity. In order to read the encoded information contained within a bar code, an individual must have a web-enabled smart phone which has the ability to take photos. The smart phone must also have software installed on the phone which can read the code. Once the code is scanned the user is provided with the information.