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October 7, 1952: Registration of the patent of the first Bar Code.

Under U.S. No. 2,612,994, the first U.S. Bar Code patent was issued.

Previously in 1951, its creator Norman Woodlan tried to interest IBM in the development of the system, but IBM concluded that the idea was "feasible and interesting" but in the end showed little interest and ended up rejecting the project.

Once registered, IBM offered to buy the patent, but their offer was not high enough, so Philco bought the patent in 1962 and then sold it to RCA some time later.

The Morse code has its origin in an idea borrowed from the Morse code, it is an optical machine-readable representation of data in relation to the object to which it is attached. It originally represents data systematically by varying the widths and spacings of parallel lines that together contain certain information and can be referred to as linear or one-dimensional.

Basic Nomenclature

Module: is the minimum or basic unit of a code. Bars and spaces are formed by a set of modules.

Bar: the dark element within the code. It corresponds to the binary value 1.

Space: the light element within the code. It corresponds to the binary value 0.

Character: formed by slashes and spaces. Usually corresponds to an alphanumeric character.

With the passage of time, a logical evolution occurred and the two-dimensional code was implemented, which are codes that are read both horizontally and vertically, these have greater ability to represent content, an example of these are the QR codes.

Advantages of the barcode

The information is processed and stored based on a binary digital system where everything is summarized in sequences of ones and zeros. The memory and logical decision center is an electronic computer of the universal type, already available in many commercial companies and generally compatible with the different brands and models of preference in each country. This equipment also makes it possible to interconnect different branches or distributors by centralizing all the information. Now the distributor can know better the dynamic parameters of his commercial circuits, allowing him to improve performance and decision making, since he will know exactly and instantly all the information coming from the sales outlets, whether or not they are in his central office. You know how long each product is in stock and the days and times when consumers make their routine purchases, so you can decide when to present offers, for which products and at what prices.

Fun fact

One of its creators, Norman Woodland, never became a millionaire for his creation that modernized purchasing and warehousing worldwide, but at least he received the National Medal of Technology from President George W Bush in 1992.


Smithsonian Magazine


US Patent Office

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