You see bar codes everywhere around you. You see them in super markets, on greeting cards, consumable goods and labels. Ever wondered what it is a bar code? It is an optical representation of data associated to the object to which it is affixed. Barcodes initially were scanned by unique optical scanning devices called bar code readers. Later on, interpretive software application and scanners became readily available on devices including smartphones and desktop printers.
Barcodes can be used for business activities around the world. It can be used:
- to track and manage your vehicle fleet and the drivers
- to track assets in building including every computer, desk, desk accessory, telephone, and copier
- to help security guards identify and record every employee, every room they work in and every door they enter and exit.
- to unlock, lock or secure entrances or exits throughout the factory plant.
- to track incoming and outgoing of mail within an organization.
- To identify slow selling items in order to prevent inventory build-up
- To identify and record fast selling items
- To predict seasonal fluctuations
History of Bar Codes
On October 7, 1952, Bernard Silver and Joseph Woodland, inventors of bar codes, were issued first patent for a barcode type product. The Silver and Woodland barcode is referred to as a bull’s eye symbol, composed of a series of concentric circles.
The idea of bar code came into light in 1948. During that period, Bernard Silver was a graduate student at one of the top tech universities in the United States. He overheard the owner of the local food chain called food fair proposing one of the faculty members of Drexel Institute of Technologies to research a model that can read product information automatically during checkout. Silver told his classmate Norman Joseph Woodland about the proposal. They both enthusiastically started working on various systems. At first, they used ultraviolet ink, but the ink was expensive and too unstable.
On 20 October, 1949, Silver and Woodland filed their patent application for “Classifying Apparatus and Method”. There they described both bullseye and linear printing patterns, as well as electronic systems and the mechanical systems needed to read the code. The patent was issued as U.S Patent 2,612,994 on October 7, 1952.
Bar Code – Commercial Use
The first commercial bar code was appeared in 1966. However, it was soon realized that industry standard set should be maintained for bar codes. The American company Monarch Marking produced the first bar code for retail trade use and the British company Plessey Telecommunications introduced bar code for industrial use.