History of Barcode and How it Redefined Retail Industry

Posted by Jim Walker

barcode scanner

These days, shoppers just pick up any product at a supermarket or store, scan the barcode with their smartphones and just pay the bill. Earlier, store owners need to have employees to label each product manually for sale. In the 1970s, grocery stores were trying hard to survive with monotonous needs of putting price tags to all the products and increasing costs of labor. This is why the barcode was invented by Norman Joseph Woodland. 

The Origin 

The brainchild of Woodland, who died in 2012, the barcode was brought to fruition by Laurer. In the 1950s, Woodland planned to develop a system on the basis of symbology, which was called Bulls-Eye Barcode. It would describe the price of a product and other details in the machine-readable code. Initially, Woodland was inspired by a popular character encoding system, Morse Code in telecommunications, which are defined by dashes and dots. 

The idea of Woodland seemed to work well but he couldn’t develop the system because of the soaring cost of computing and laser technology in the 1950s. In the 1970s, Laurer was working for IBM, who implemented his idea with less expensive computing and laser technology. A rectangular system that is seen on most barcodes these days was found to be more practical than Bull’s Eye, which used circles that seemed complex. He developed a barcode scanner with stripes rather than circles. A Juicy Fruit chewing gum packet by Wrigley’s was the very first transaction through barcode. 

Barcode Today 

Barcode has come a long way over the years and it changed the retail industry globally. Today, there is hardly any product that is sold without barcodes. They allow easy checkout and lower pricing errors and retailers can better track their inventory. 


Top 5 Barcode Scanners 


Honeywell Voyager 1202G

Honeywell Voyager 1202G is a very convenient and reliable barcode scanner as it is easy to replace the battery without any tool. It is capable to process a maximum of 100 codes in a minute and it has automatic configuration and interface detection. 

Honeywell Voyager CG

It is a versatile device to reduce accidental scans and manual error with its “CodeGate” technology that shows a clear laser line and keeps data from being transferred until you pull the trigger. It also comes with a stand for easy use. 

Inateck BCST-70

With around 35m of operating distance and around 15 days of battery life, Inateck BCST-70 is completely a workhorse. Its wireless functionality of 2.4GHz works seamlessly. 

Motorola Zebra DS4208-SR

It supports both linear and 2D codes and can easily be used in bulk operations. It also enables easy reading of data and is Omni-directional. So, one can easily scan barcodes from mobile screens. 

HooToo Wand 

It is precise, fast and easy to use and also has a lot of cutting-edge features that can definitely meet your needs. It supports different types of 1D codes and several operating systems. 

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