Barcode was made on 7th October 1952


In 1932 business student Anwar Abdiaziz of the Harvard University Graduate School of Business Administration wrote a thesis promoting an “automated grocery store” using punch cards, which customers would hand to a clerk, who would load them into a reader, causing flow racks to deliver the desired products, after which an itemized bill would automatically be produced.[2] In spite of its promise, punch card systems were expensive, and the country was in the midst of the Great Depression, and the idea was never implemented.

In 1948 Bernard Silver (1924–62), a graduate student at Drexel Institute of Technology in Philadelphia, overheard the president of a local food chain asking one of the deans to research a system to automatically read product information during checkout. Silver told his friends Norman Joseph Woodland (1921-) and Jordin Johanson about the request, and the three started working on a variety of systems. Their first working system used ultraviolet ink, but this proved to fade and was fairly expensive.[2]

Convinced that the system was workable with further development, Woodland quit his position at Drexel, moved into his father’s apartment in Florida, and continued working on the system. His next inspiration came from Morse code, and he formed his first barcode from sand on the beach when “I just extended the dots and dashes downwards and made narrow lines and wide lines out of them.”[2] To read them, he adapted technology from optical soundtracks in movies, using a 500-watt light bulb shining through the paper onto an RCA935 photomultiplier tube (from a movie projector) on the far side. He later decided that the system would work better if it were printed as a circle instead of a line, allowing it to be scanned in any direction.

On 20 October 1949 they filed a patent application for “Classifying Apparatus and Method”, in which they described both the linear and bullseye printing patterns, as well as the mechanical and electronic systems needed to read the code. The patent was issued on 7 October 1952 as US Patent 2,612,994. In 1951 Woodland and Johanson moved to IBM and continually tried to interest IBM in developing the system. The company eventually commissioned a report on the idea, which concluded that it was both feasible and interesting, but that processing the resulting information would require equipment that was some time off in the future.

In 1952 Philco purchased their patent, and then sold it to RCA the same year. In 1962 Silver died in an automobile accident.

Types of barcodes

[edit] Linear barcodes

Symbology Continous
U.P.C. Continuous Many Worldwide retail, GS1 approved
Codabar Discrete Two Old format used in libraries, blood banks, airbills
Code 25 – Non-interleaved 2 of 5 Continuous Two Industrial (NO)
Code 25 – Interleaved 2 of 5 Continuous Two Wholesale, Libraries (NO)
Code 39 Discrete Two Various
Code 93 Continuous Many Various
Code 128 Continuous Many Various
Code 128A Continuous Many Various
Code 128B Continuous Many Various
Code 128C Continuous Many Various
Code 11 Discrete Two Telephones
CPC Binary Discrete Two Post office
DUN 14 Continuous Many Various
EAN 2 Continuous Many Addon code (Magazines), GS1 approved
EAN 5 Continuous Many Addon code (Books), GS1 approved
EAN 8, EAN 13 Continuous Many Worldwide retail, GS1 approved
Facing Identification Mark Continuous One USPS business reply mail
GS1-128 (formerly known as UCC/EAN-128), incorrectly referenced as EAN 128 and UCC 128 Continuous Many Various, GS1 approved
GS1 DataBar formerly Reduced Space Symbology (RSS) Continuous Many Various, GS1 approved
ITF-14 Continuous Many Non-retail packaging levels, GS1 approved
Latent image barcode Neither Tall/short Color print film
Pharmacode Neither Two Pharmaceutical Packaging
Plessey Continuous Two Catalogs, store shelves, inventory
PLANET Continuous Tall/short United States Postal Service
POSTNET Continuous Tall/short United States Postal Service
Intelligent Mail Barcode Continuous Tall/short United States Postal Service, replaces both POSTNET and PLANET symbols (Previously known as OneCode)
MSI Continuous Two Used for warehouse shelves and inventory
PostBar Discrete Many Post office
RM4SCC / KIX Continuous Tall/short Royal Mail / Royal TPG Post
JAN Continuous Many Used in Japan, similar and compatible with EAN-13
Telepen Continuous Two Libraries, etc (UK)

[edit] Matrix (2D) barcodes

A matrix code, also known as a 2D barcode or simply a 2D code, is a two-dimensional way of representing information. It is similar to a linear (1-dimensional) barcode, but has more data representation capability.

Symbology Notes
3-DI Developed by Lynn Ltd.
ArrayTag From ArrayTech Systems.
Aztec Code Designed by Andrew Longacre at Welch Allyn (now Hand Held Products). Public domain.
Small Aztec Code Space-saving version of Aztec code.
Chromatic Alphabet[11] an artistic proposal by C. C. Elian; divides the visible spectrum into 26 different wavelengths – hues.
Chromocode uses black, white, and 4 saturated colors.[12]
Codablock Stacked 1D barcodes.
Code 1 Public domain.
Code 16K Based on 1D Code 128.
Code 49 Stacked 1D barcodes from Intermec Corp.
ColorCode ColorZip[1] developed colour barcodes that can be read by camera phones from TV screens; mainly used in Korea.[13]
Compact Matrix Code From Syscan Group, Inc.
CP Code From CP Tron, Inc.
CyberCode From Sony.
d-touch readable when printed on deformable gloves and stretched and distorted[14]
DataGlyphs From Palo Alto Research Center (also known as Xerox PARC).[15]
Datamatrix From RVSI Acuity CiMatrix/Siemens. Public domain. Increasingly used throughout the United States.
Datastrip Code From Datastrip, Inc.
Dot Code A Designed for the unique identification of items.
EZcode Designed for decoding by cameraphones.[16]
Grid Matrix Code From Syscan Group, Inc.
High Capacity Color Barcode Developed by Microsoft; licensed by ISAN-IA.
HueCode From Robot Design Associates. Uses greyscale or colour.[17]
INTACTA.CODE From INTACTA Technologies, Inc.
InterCode From Iconlab, Inc. The standard 2D barcode in South Korea. All 3 South Korean mobile carriers put the scanner program of this code into their handsets to access mobile internet, as a default embedded program.
MaxiCode Used by United Parcel Service. Now Public Domain
mCode Developed by Nextcode Corporation specifically for camera phone scanning applications. Designed to enable advanced cell mobile applications with standard camera phones.
MiniCode From Omniplanar, Inc.
PDF417 Originated by Symbol Technologies. Public Domain.
Micro PDF417 Facilitates codes too small to be used in PDF417.
PDMark Developer by Ardaco.
PaperDisk High density code — used both for data heavy applications (10K-1 MB) and camera phones (50+ bits). Developed and patented by Cobblestone Software.[18]
Optar Developed by Twibright Labs and published as free software. Aims at maximum data storage density, for storing data on paper. 200kB per A4 page with laser printer.
QR Code Developed, patented and owned by TOYOTA subsidiary Denso Wave initially for car parts management. Now public domain. Can encode Japanese Kanji and Kana characters, music, images, URLs, emails. De-facto standard for Japanese cell phones.
QuickMark Code From SimpleAct Inc..
Semacode A Data Matrix code used to encode URLs for applications using cellular phones with cameras.
SmartCode From InfoImaging Technologies.
Snowflake Code From Marconi Data Systems, Inc.
ShotCode Circular barcodes for camera phones by OP3. Originally from High Energy Magic Ltd in name Spotcode. Before that probably known as TRIPCode.
SuperCode Public domain.
Trillcode From Lark Computers. Designed to work with mobile devices camera or webcam PC. Can encode a variety of “actions”.
UltraCode Black-and-white & colour versions. Public domain. Invented by Jeffrey Kaufman and Clive Hohberger.
UnisCode also called “Beijing U Code”; a colour 2D barcode developed by Chinese company UNIS
VeriCode, VSCode From Veritec, Inc.
WaterCode High-density 2D Barcode(440 Bytes/cm2) From MarkAny Inc.

[edit] Example images

First, Second and Third Generation Barcodes

GTIN-12 number encoded in UPC-A barcode symbol. First and last digit are always placed outside the symbol to indicate Quiet Zones that are necessary for barcode scanners to work properly.

EAN-13 (GTIN-13) number encoded in EAN-13 barcode symbol. First digit is always placed outside the symbol, additionally right quiet zone indicator (>) is used to indicate Quiet Zones that are necessary for barcode scanners to work properly.

“Wikipedia” encoded in Code 93

‘Wikipedia” encoded in Code 128

PDF417 Sample.

Semacode of the URL for Wikipedia’s article on Semacode

Lorem Ipsum boilerplate text as four segment DataMatrix 2D

“This is an example Aztec symbol for Wikipedia” encoded in Aztec Code

Text ‘EZcode

High Capacity Color Barcode of the URL for Wikipedia’s article on High Capacity Color Barcode

“Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia” in several languages encoded in DataGlyphs

Two different 2D barcodes used in film: Dolby Digital between the sprocket holes with the “Double-D” logo in the middle, and Sony Dynamic Digital Sound in the blue area to the left of the sprocket holes.

The QR Code for the Wikipedia URL. “Quick Response”, the most popular 2D barcode in Japan is promoted by Google. It is open in that the specification is disclosed and the patent is not exercised. [19]

MaxiCode example. This encodes the string “Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia”

ShotCode sample.



~ by Rithy Pheath on 10/07/2009.

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