Believe it or not the first thing that ever had a barcode on it was a beach.
According to this article by the Economic History Association the inspiration for what eventually became today’s barcoding system sparked in the late 1940s. A young man named Joseph Woodward had been trying to develop a system that would automatically read product information. The framework for his research had been established over a century earlier as Woodward believed Morse Code could be the basis for this system he was trying to establish. Then one day Woodward literally started drawing lines in the sand and an epiphany sparked.
The patent for the first barcode was established a few years later meaning barcodes have been around for almost sixty years. Yet there are still some companies today that do not utilize barcode scanning. Instead they operate by pen and paper. A study by Datalogic showed that companies that switched from this manual system to one that incorporated barcode scanning improved their efficiency by 25%.
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