Happy 35th Birthday to the Barcode

Barcode 35th BirthdayFriday, June 26, 1974 was a day that would forever change the way POS was done. While the barcode had been in developmental stages for years before, it was not until this fated day that a supermarket in Troy, Ohio sold a pack of Wrigley’s Juicy fruit gum using an official UPC code and barcode scanner.

Prior to the barcode, there was no universal system for assigning products, and each company had their own way of doing things, leading to an error rate of about 1/300 characters, as opposed to 1/36,000,000,000,000 with barcode scanners. Today, UPC barcodes are scanned more than 10 billion times a day, across 25 different industries. Because of this, the advent of the barcode produced significant economic and productivity benefits for both shoppers, retailers, and manufacturers alike.

In honor of the barcode’s 35th birthday, you may want to check out my previous post on the history of barcodes. In addition, Motorola put together a site in honor of the celebration. Check it out here.

Happy 35th, Barcode!