The Internet of Things Launched

Today in 1974, a Universal Product Code (UPC) label was used to ring up purchases at a supermarket for the first time. The first UPC ever scanned is on a package of Wrigley’s chewing gum (now on display at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History), which was purchased at the Marsh Supermarket in Troy, Ohio, utilizing NCR scanners Stephen A . Brown in Revolution at the Checkout Counter: The Explosion of the Bar Code: “The opening of the March store is very important from a historical perspective. By no means, however, did it signify the success of the U.P.C. Several  years would pass before it became obvious that scanning would become widespread. In the interim, a number of doubters publicly proclaimed the failure of the U.P.C…  By 1976, Business Week was eulogizing ‘The Supermarket Scanner that Failed.'” The bar code was invented on the beach in Miami in 1949, when graduate student Norman Joseph Woodland, 27, drew four lines in the sand. Woodland, who patented the basic idea for a linear bar code, later became an IBM engineer. More than  twenty years later, another IBMer, George Laurer, was one of those primarily responsible for refining the idea for use by supermarkets.

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