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Bar Code’s Anniversary is Tomorrow

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It’s hard to imagine a time when these things didn’t exist. In actuality it’s been less than 40 years since they have been widely used. June 26, 1974 is the date that the Universal Product Code (UPC) or Bar Code was first used in an Ohio supermarket.

The first item scanned with the UPC code was a pack of Wrigley’s Gum. Until then, grocery stores had to have someone manually enter prices into the cash register. I remember those days, when the cashier would ring up your purchases and someone else bagged your groceries.

These days, UPC codes are used for many things. Pricing is still their primary use, but they are also used for medications in the hospital, keeping track of packages and many other uses.

The patent for the original UPC code was issued to Joseph Woodland and Bernard Silver in 1952. The original design was more like a bullseye or the rings on a tree.

Next time you go through the “U-scan” or self checkout at the grocery store, consider that the technology is still relatively new, although it seems like it has always been a part of our lives.

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