Happy 40th Birthday To The Barcode


bar-codeForty years ago today, a cashier at a Marsh Supermarket in Troy, Ohio, scanned a 10-pack of Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit gum bearing an odd-looking set of alternating black and white lines. The barcode had been designed by IBM engineer George Laurer to help grocery stores track each piece of merchandise sold. With that first scan, the Uniform Product Code was born.

At the time, the brass at IBM weren’t thrilled that the first UPC code was scanned using a machine made by rival NCR (NCR), known then as National Cash Register. The store using Big Blue’s machines was set to go online in less than a week, according to Bill Selmeier, a former IBM colleague of Lauer’s who now oversees the online ID History Museum, which is dedicated to UPC technology.

Read more at CBS NEWS.



  1. I miss Wrigley chewing gum. We used to chew it all the time, as a kid. Don’t remember when we were told its treiff and we can’t buy them anymore. There has never been anything like it.


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