National Barcode Day Date in the current year: June 26, 2024

National Barcode Day National Barcode Day is celebrated annually on June 26. It was created to commemorate the first commercial appearance of the Universal Product Code (UPC) and recognize the importance of barcodes in our everyday lives.

A barcode is a method of representing data in a visual format that is easily readable by a digital computer or mechanical device. Early barcodes, called “one-dimensional” or “linear”, were made up of parallel lines and spaces of various widths. Later, 2D (matrix) barcodes were developed, using various patterns. Although 2D barcodes don’t use bars as such, the name “barcode” has stuck before they were introduced.

The history of barcodes dates back to 1948, when Bernard Silver overheard the conversation between the dean of engineering at Drexel Institute of Technology and a grocery chain executive. The executive asked the dean if they could develop a system to read product information automatically during checkout.

Silver reached out to his friend and fellow Drexel Institute graduate Norman Joseph Woodland, telling him about the conversation. Silver and Woodland teamed up to work on such a system, filed for a patent in 1949, and were granted it in 1952. However, their technology did not became widespread because its implementation required expensive processing equipment.

Another person who made an attempt to bring barcode technology into the mainstream was David Jarrett Collins. While working for Sylvania Electric Products in 1959, he developed a multicolored barcode system named KarTrak that allowed to automatically identify railroad cars. The Association of American Railroads selected KarTrak as the standard identification system in 1967, but the project ultimately failed.

The development of the modern barcode began in the late 1960s, when the National Association of Food Chains (NAFC) came up with the idea of introducing automated checkout systems. A number of tech companies developed barcode systems and presented them to a committee established by the NAFC. In the end, IBM’s Universal Product Code (UPC) developed by George Laurer was selected by the NAFC as its new standard.

The first UPC-marked item was scanned on June 26, 1976 at a Marsh Supermarkets location in Troy, Ohio. It was a ten-piece pack of Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit gum. The implementation of the bacode system was a significant achievement for the grocery industry, and other industries quickly saw its benefits as well. Today, barecodes are widely used in many settings and contexts, including, but not limited to, retail, transportation, healthcare, mail and delivery, libraries, logistics, agriculture, and many more.

The celebration of National Barcode Day was launched in 2021 by three pioneers in the barcoding industry – Barcoding, Inc., Datalogic, and ScanSource, Inc. Its main goal is to remind people how barcodes make their lives easier. You can celebrate this amazing holiday by learning more more about the history of barcodes and their many uses, and spreading the word on social media with the hashtags #NationalBarcodeDay and #BarcodeDay.

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National Barcode Day, observances in the US, unofficial holidays, barcodes, Universal Product Code