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Welcome the barcode section of WiseBizz

Barcodes are such an integral part of the modern high-tech world that it seems remarkable that their history stretches way back to the 1930s.

The first chapter in the history of UPC barcodes, or the Uniform Product Code, started in 1932 when a gentleman named Wallace Flint started to develop code formats for use in the retail industry. Although his system was not economically viable, Flint was the first person to suggest an automated checkout system and it was to be 40 years before his vision was fulfilled worldwide.


Flint and his colleagues saw the need for automated tills that could scan in the code and price of each product, drastically reducing the time that it would take to affect a transaction and thus increasing efficiency and profit.

Flint became vice-president of the massive National Association of Food Chains, and it was due largely to him that a comprehensive electronic system of stocktaking and sales records would be introduced in the form of UPC barcodes.

The first real attempts at creating a system of barcoding began in the United States in the late 1960s but it wasn't until 1972, when a Bull's Eye type code was used in a store in Cincinnati , that cash tills began to become fully automated.

The UPC Barcode is Born

The National Association of Food Chains then had to set about finding a viable standard code that could be utilized by the whole industry. A number of proposals were put forward and on the 3rd April 1973 it was decided that the UPC symbol, proposed by the people at IBM and to be known as a 'barcode', would become the standard defining symbol of the industry.

Although the history of UPC barcodes has been played out over a long period of time, today we take them for granted as part of the fabric of the commercial world.

With the ongoing advancement of computerized systems, software and fonts - barcodes now crop up in all kinds of environments, from commercial to industrial and military, and we have become so familiar with them that they have become an everyday part of our lives.