Early events prior to formal standardization activity Start of events leading to bar code formal standarization "Things Happen" events while getting the bar code standard into use Effects and results of the bar codestandard
Date
Event
Comments and additional Information
12/18/1934 Patent 1985035 Earliest Patent of a Barcode Filed by John Kermode, Douglas Young, Harry Sparks, Westinghouse Not actually a product ID but apparently a patent for a barcode to simplify a business process. top
1932 Wallace Flint Thesis proposes automating checkout The proposed system used catalogs with punched cards to give a system that delivered the product to the checkout. top
1949 Woodland/Silver Patent Filing "Classifying Apparatus & Method" Patent 2612994
A circular barcode later to be known as a bullseye and issued in 1952. top
1952 First Actual Bullseye Barcode Scanner Woodland in Back Room of a Colonial Store in Atlanta
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1961 Color Bar Codes introduced on Railroad Cars
First used on Gravel Cars by Boston and Maine Railroad. top
March 28-30,1966 Grocery Industry Meeting (NAFC Urging automation) in Miami, FL Management Clinic on Physical Research. top
1967 Association of American Railroads Picks Color Bar Codes to identify Railroad Cars
This was not really a product ID. These bar codes identified cars that carried product. top
October 16, 1967 Sylvania and RCA meet to discuss Supermarket Technology Sharing top
February 23-26 1969 NAFC meeting Management Clinic on Physical Research Presentations on Checkout alternatives including Bob Sloat regarding Kroger's study of Scan and Bag. top
September 1969 Administrative Systems committee of GMA meets at Carousel Inn Cincinnati to study initiating Product IDs Participants settled on 11 digit code recomendation with some descent, top
1969 Computer Identics installs barcode scanning system in Flint, MI Buick assembly line top
8/25/1970 U.P.C. Ad Hoc Committee Established at the OHare Inn in Chicago Officers elected, McKinsey selected as Consultant, decision made to formally move ahead. top
7/09/1970 Kimball Ticket System Patent filed (granted 5/23/72) top
3/09/1971 U.P.C. Code Management committee formed top
3/31/1971 U.P.C. Symbol Selection Committee Formed top
6/1/1971 First Meeting of Symbol Selection Commitee Dealt with how to structure the Committee's work. Haberman stated the job was not to worry about financing (leave that to Ad Hoc) but to recommend if and what symbol should be selected. top
6/7/1971 Symbol Selection Commitee meets with Jewel in Chicago Jewels ideas on productivity presented. top
6/10/1971 Symbol Selection Commitee meets with RCA in Marlborough MA top
7/15/1971 Symbol Selection Commitee meets at McKinsey in New York, NY top
8/25/1971 Symbol Selection Commitee meets at McKinsey in New York, NY Reviews information on possible equipment providers.top
10/5/1971 Symbol Selection Committee meets with NCR in Dayton, OH top
10/20/1971 Symbol Selection Commitee meets at McKinsey in New York, NY Review progress with equipment companies and decision to have two types of committee members. Type One are voting and include four grocery manufacturers and four grocery retailers. Type Two are non-voting and include testing companies. Canada invited to contribute (Allen Clark GMA Canada)top
11/10/1971 Symbol Selection Committee meets at McKinsey in New York, NY Status of equipment company efforts discussed. Modified symbol evaluation process to accept non store test data. Symbol guideline were discussed.top
11/30/1971 Symbol Selection Committee meets about Finances and code start-up Decision to use the IBM suggested Pictorial Information Dissector and Analyzer (PIDAS) tool to determine print quality in the industrytop
4Q 1971
Initiate Printing quality work with Graphic Arts Technical Foundation
Define and measure the quality of print via available technologies top
4Q 1971
Initiate Symbol Performance analysis with Battelle in Columbus
Define and measure how the proposed symbols perform on real checkstands with grocery checkout clerks top
1/14/1972 Symbol Selection Commitee meets with Zellweger and Charagon Zellweger and Charagon presentations. Litton test with A&P proposed with both price scan and price look-up. top
2/21/1972 Symbol Selection Commitee meeting Decided PIDAS would provide a fact base for writing the symbol specifications. Also decided to utilize the Graphic Arts Technical Foundation (Pittsburg) to provide input and measurements on print quality. Symbol location becoming a concern. top
3/20/1972 Symbol Selection Commitee meeting Federal Trade Commission contacted for information exchange. Distribution Number Bank is up, running and funded. "Velocity" coding offered by Jewel (?) to increase manual input productivity. MIT contacted and agrees to provide input on current and future technologies. Types of symbols offered are: dot matrix (Jewel), bullseye (RCA), half moon (Zellweger), linear bar code (bi-directional by Litton, Anker, IBM not formally proposed at this time and Omnidirectional by Pitney), bullseye series (Hugen Register), Human readable split bar code (Scanner Inc), Sunburst (Characon and Brad Torre), and others not offered including OCR, MICR, magnetic, voice recognition, mechanical (e.g. holes), color bars, holography and florescent inks. Symbol location a major issue. top
1Q 1972
Larry Russell initates the Non Parametric Model
Created to compare symbol proposal technology on comprehensive detailed basis top
5/25/1972 Symbol Selection Commitee meeting at McKinsey in New York, NY Equipment manufacturers reports including: IBM, RCA, Litton, Pitney Bowes, Scanner Inc, Resources for Lawyers, Charagon, Nuclear Data, Dymo, Olivetti, Hugen, and Anker. top
7/3/1972 Kroger Store Opens A Test of Scanning Bullseye with RCA
The store was located in the Kenwood shopping center in Cincinnati, OH, top
6/22/1972 Symbol Selection Commitee meets with Battelle in Columbus, OH top
8/9/1972 Symbol Selection Commitee meets at RCA Test Store Held in Cincinnati Ohio to visit the Kroger test store (RCA . bulls eye). Status of lab test program: Litton and RCA are in, Singer and Pitney look good to join, probable are Zellweger, Scanner Inc and IBM, NCR is undecided, and Dymo, Ankor, and Charagon will not. top
10/5/1972 Symbol Selection Committee meets at McKinsey in New York
Discussed how to encourage IBM to be a tester. Review of store test programs. Review of patent policy. Committee would like symbol to be in the public domain. Continued work on decision framework. top
11/14/1972 Symbol Selection Committee meets at McKinsey in New York
Decision framework includes store level savings, source symbol marking cost and decision to recommend yes or no symbol decision. Reviewed Nation Drug Code needs and how to handle film master producers. top
12/4/1972 Symbol Selection Committee meeting
Report on IBM Rochester visit. Discussed how to handle the macro economic analysis and what to do if it were negative. Report on Battelle progress. top
1/4-6/1973 Symbol Selection Committee meeting in San Francisco, CA
Review of Battelle test results and MIT comments. Decision on if a decision can be made on 3/30/72 and if there needs to be a variation on any of the proposed symbologies. Decision made to make the decision on 3/30/72 based on data that has been and will be received. Presentations by Dymo, IBM, RCA, Pitney-Bowes, Singer, Scanner Inc, and Litton. DNB reports current manufacturing members accout for 45 percent of the nation volume of groceries. top
2/12/1973 Symbol Selection Committee meets at McKinsey in New York
Realization that because of interpretations decision will turn on judgmental factors rather than just hard data. Status of all proposers reviewed along with store test results. Charagon presented a new symbol. top
3/4-6/1973 Symbol Selection Committee meets at McKinsey in Los Angeles, CA
Decided this meeting would emphasize recommending a symbol or not, recommendation on symbol location and reduce alternative choices. Received Battelle results. Jewel requested the project stop to review code structure. Received store testing and print quality reports. Printers worried about quality measures and that required tolerances could not be achieved. Decided not to require bottom marking. Symbol should be variable size. Decide symbol decision would be either IBM two field bar code, Litton semi-circle bullseye, Litton one field bar code or Singer two dimensional format. top
3/29-30/1973 Symbol Selection Committee meets at McKinsey in New York
Late concern about laser safety. Would like to not have safety warnings in the stores. Final test results and recommendation from MIT that OCR-B be added to the symbol specification (accepted). Macro economic costs seem acceptable but an absolute requirement for bottom marking would be prohibitive. Final choice came down to RCA/Litton (full and semicircle) and IBM (linear bar code). Haberman asked for a report on how confident each member could be on their vote which resulted in strong confidence from all. Then reached a unanimous decision on the IBM symbol as modified by the committee. Voting were Eric Waldbaum (Greenbelt Consumer Services), Steve Linn (General Foods), Bob Tripp (Winn Dixie), Barry Franz (Procter & Gamble), Bill Galt (Del Monte), John Hayes (Heinz), Fritz Biemeier (Red Owl Stores) and Alan Haberman (First National Stores). OCR/B accepted as part of the symbol. top
4/3/1973 U.P.C. Symbol Selection Committee presents its Recomendations to Ad Hoc Committee "IBM/Committee Final Proposal" accepted after final 30 minute presentations made by Litton/Zellweger, NCR, RCA, Pitney-Bowes-Alpex, and Singer. Ad Hoc Committee accepts the Symbol Selection Committeerecomentation. The Symbol Selection Committee was disbanded at the close of the meeting.top
May 1973 Initial Symbol Definition Documents released top
May 1973
Uniform Product Code Council Assumes Leadership
The Ad Hoc Committee turns over leadership to the Uniform Product Code Council (UGPCC) top
5/17/1973 Establishment of Symbol Technical Advisory Committees to resolve symbol issues Each Subcommittee to be formed by 8/1/73 and to initially meet by 9/15/73 top
6/23/1973 RCA annouces U.P.C. Scanning POS System top
August 1973 RCA sells POS System to Sperry Univac top
9/29/1973 Univac closes Kroger test store Closure of bullseye scanning store in Cincinnati's Kenwood Shopping Center. top
10/11/1973 IBM announces the initial scanning Supermarket System, IBM3660 The announcement was made at the National Association of Food Chains Executive Session in Washington D.C. with a demonstration for attendees and their wives. top
January 1974 Ad Hoc Committee forms a Coupon Committee chaired by Don Lloyd top
February 1974 Sperry Univac/RCA installs a U.P.C. Scanning Checkstand at Finast in Framingham, MA. Finast internal house publication relating the Framingham store scanning lane installation.   top
6/26/1974 Wrigley Gum Scanned using a NCR system at Marsh Supermarkets top
July 1974 IBM Starts U.P.C. scanning at Stienbergs Dorval (Montreal) Canada top
July 1974 IBM starts scanning at SGC Pathmark, South Plainfield, NJ top
1974 Random Weight code format decided top
1976 EAN, European Article Number, is adopted top
June 1976 Walter Kaslow obtains Patent 3,959,624 covering the use of a coupon, U.P.C. Symbol and the scanning action. This patent effectively claimed infringement for every scan of a U.P.C. symbol on a coupon. It was declared invalid in late 1983. top
10/13/1977 IBM documents achieved scanning benefits to FMI Scanning Conference FMI adopts presentation as the FMI's official position on store automation benefits. top
1980 EAN Authority and the International ISBN Agency create country called Bookland The country was given prefixes (EAN prefixes) 978 and 979. top
1980 UCC/GS1US issued the 10,000th prefix top
9/1/1981 US Dept of Defense adopts LOGMARS, a Code 39 barcode. LOGMARS was required for all purchased products. top
March 1982 First installation of IBM Story Systems product by an IBM Business Partner ECS, Electronic Checkout Systems, in Atlanta installs first systems as a VAD (Value Added Distributor) initiating the Business Partners program, a major IBM Store Systems sales program.top
September 1982 US Postal Service adopts POSTNET barcode to represent zipcodes Within 13 months the Postal Service had POSTNET operational in 100 major metropolitan areas. top
1982 Symbol Technologies introduces LS7000 hand held scanner top
1985 Ilhan Bilgutay claims he invented a two bar, two space representation of a number, Patent# 3832686 The UCC settled out of court because pursuing it was even more expensive although Bilgutay changed his mind almost immediately and attempted to re-open the settlement until 1988. top
1986 IBM joint study with Carter Hawley Hale Joint study with retailer Carter Hawley Hale defining benefits of using the UPC barcode in general merchandise retailing. top
June 1987
IBM establishes a Quick Response Systems project office
topQuick Response was an initiative to make American Manufacturing more significant by shortening the response time for retailers to meet specific customer needs and thereby bring manufacturing back to the United States.
June 1988
Quick Response Services Inc. begins operations
QRS' UPC Catalog service provided storage and distribution of vendors. UPC codes for retailers to access. Quick Response Services was a joint venture between Peter R Johnson & Associates and IBM.top
1989
Lemelson attempts to take control of the U.P.C. world-wide by filing patents on barcodes
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1991
Bar Codes first appear on Medications
By 2001 only 2 - 3% of hospitals use bar codes. top
1992
UCC/GS1US issued the 100,000th Barcode prefix
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1994
International group meets to establish Blood Bank Bar Code
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1998
Smithsonian Celebrates 25 years of the U.P.C. Bar Code
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December 2003
Class Action Settlement UCC vs Rob N I, Inc in Superior Court Spokane, WA
The UCC tried to initiate an annual renewal fee for Prefix holders. Its policy had always restricted the use of the prefix to the company that originally purchased it. The renewal fee was successfully challenged in a Class Action Suit which effectively said that there had been no agreement or contract between UCC and the Prefix Owner since the Prefix Owner had never signed a document agreeing to UCC terms, i.e. no contract ever existed. Then assigned Prefixes became the simple property of the Prefix owner. Its value and exclusivity had to be protected by the owner. This also meant the Prefix owner was free to sub-divide and resell individual UPC numbers as he would any asset. As a result the sales of Prefixes by the UCC was modified to make them contractural, require a renewal fee, and make it so they could not be resold. top
February 2004
US FDA requires that all medications must have bar codes by April 2006
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10/12/2005
AABA mandates the implementation of ISBT 128 bar code in accredited Blood Banks
Must have written implementation plan by 11/1/2006 and be implemented by 5/1/2008. top
2006
UCC/GS1US issued the 300,000th Barcode prefix

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January 13, 2011
Albert Heijn passes
Albert Heijn was considered the founder of the EAN and founded the Dutch supermarket that bears his name.
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June 12, 2011
Alan Haberman passes
Alan Haberman chaired the Symbol Selection Committee and was a member of the Ad Hoc committee that guided this industry project.
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December 9, 2012
N Joesph Woodland passes
Joe contributed to many phases of the creation of the UPC from creating and patenting the first optical concept to guiding much of the IBM assistance to the industry.
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March 9, 2015
Tom Wilson passes
Tom was the principal consultant at McKinsey and Associates, the Industry's selected coordinator of this standardization effort. In this position Tom monitored the progress and developed strategies to move the industry to a UPC code, Bar Code Symbol and implementation of scanning at the customer checkout process.
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