A Real Barcode First


A Real Barcode First

Recent barcode-related fact from Random Daily Facts website.

A 10 pack of Wrigley’s Gum was the first product to be scanned with a UPC Barcode. It happened in Ohio in 1974, and the original pack is on display in the Smithsonian Institute.

It’s hard to imagine that before the days of barcoding almost all products in supermarkets were labelled with a small price label applied with a hand labelling gun.

The Dark ages of the supermarket

Younger readers may not believe that the tins of beans would be manually labelled, one-by-one by shop staff before being put on the shelves. Even less believable perhaps is that shop staff would enter the prices marked on the goods on a cash register keypad manually.

Check-out staff before the introduction of the barcode had to be very handy on the keypads, then when barcoding arrived had to be good at rapid scanning. Now self-checkout has arrived the customer does the work.

Rise of the barcode

It’s interesting that barcode technology hasn’t really changed that much over the past 30 years, new symbologies and standards have emerged and barcodes have become ubiquitous.

A Modern Meto Hand-Held Price Gun

Barcode scanning has become faster and more accurate the same is true for barcode printing.  2-dimenional barcodes have become very popular, especially in marketing, but the 1-d barcodes you see on products in supermarkets look almost exactly the same now as they did in 1974.

10 Years ago some industry experts were saying the Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) would be replacing item-level barcodes by now.  Clearly this hasn’t happened, There a few niche products being identified at item level using RFID, and there are some retailers using RFID at carton-level in the supply chain, but RFID is not deployed in-place of retail barcodes.

Tanto Labels is a manufacturer of labels for use with barcode label printers, we also supply pre-printed barcode labels and label printing systems. Contact Us for straight-forward advice on barcode labels and label printing.




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