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The Printronix Connection

Norman Joseph Woodland - Co-Inventor of Bar Code Has Died

Posted by Gary Stockton on Mon, Dec 17, 2012 @ 13:12 PM

Six decades ago on a Florida beach a young man, a former boy scout, knelt down and slid his fingers through the sand to draw out a design idea for the very first bar code. That young man was Norman Joseph Woodland. Norman put his fingers in the sand and impulsively drew them back to make four lines. According to an interview he did with Smithsonian Magazine in 1999 he thought to himself "Golly! Now I have four lines and they could be wide lines or narrow lines instead of dots and dashes." The lines in the sand were just the beginning; seconds later he drew a completely circular shape similar to a bull's-eye. The idea would later evolve into the modern bar code which adorns almost every product of contemporary life including groceries, industrial products, cars and electrical components. That bull's-eye symbol in the sand gave birth to millions of bar coding applications world over and remains one of the biggest industrial advances of modern time.

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Topics: barcode, barcodes, bar code