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N. Joseph Woodland: Five Facts About the Bar Code Inventor
Posted By Patrick Kiger On December 14, 2012 @ 3:18 pm In Legacy | No Comments
Whether you like using those self-service checkouts at supermarkets and drugstores, or still prefer to have a human clerk scan your purchases, thank Norman Joseph Woodland for the ease and convenience of buying things in the modern world.
It was Woodland – along with Bernard Silver, his classmate at Drexel Institute of Technology (now Drexel University) – who back in the late 1940s invented the bar code, the series of markings on labels that can be read by an optical scanner. Here’s the patent application that Woodland and Silver filed for their invention, which was granted in 1952.
Woodland, who passed away on Dec. 9 at age 91 in Edgewater, N.J., saved shoppers countless minutes that clerks once needed to recall prices or consult a list and to then punch keys on old-fashioned cash registers. An estimated 5 billion products are scanned each day using Woodland and Silver’s invention, according to this Reuters article. Bar codes are also used for everything from tracking mail to encoding medical information.
Here are five intriguing facts about Woodland and his invention.
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