The Pendleton Panther

Happy Birthday Bar Code!

Posted on: October 7, 2009

57 years ago this day, the world of commerce was changed forever.  It was on this date, so long ago, that the first patent was issued for a bar code.  This format, which uses a combination of black and white bars of different thicknesses, has since become the industry standard.  They have become so commonplace that they are often overlooked, but the humble bar code has done extraordinary things for efficiency and productivity.   Bernard Silver, the inventor of the system, drew on Morse code and patience to come up with the revolutionary design.  His first prototype was a series of bars representing different bits of Morse code written into the sand at a beach.  He then used the 500 watt bulbs of optic soundtrack reading systems that were used in movie theaters at that time to project the pattern onto a photomultiplier.  While the system has progressed to use helium-neon lasers today, the basic technology remains the same as the first columns scratched into the sand.


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