Free barcode next week

June 1, 2017

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Prog 633 of 2000AD dated 30th June 1989 was the final issue with a cover without a barcode. The back cover boasted that forthcoming issues would contain a free bar code for its lucky readers. Well, it amused me for at least 4.35 seconds…..

History lesson: The barcode was first proposed in the late 1940s/early 1950s and finally utilised in a few industries in the 1960s. The first use in retail happened in June 1974. A National Cash Register scanner was installed at Marsh’s supermarket in Troy, Ohio. On June 26, 1974, the first product with a bar code was scanned at a check-out counter. It was a 10-pack of Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit chewing gum. The pack of gum wasn’t specially designated to be the first scanned product. It just happened to be the first item lifted from the shopping cart by a shopper whose name is long since lost to history. Today, the pack of gum is on display at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History.

2 Responses to “Free barcode next week”

  1. Niblet Says:

    I’ve always wondered what would happen if one bought a Tesco’s own brand item, then took that item into Sainsbury’s and put it through their scanner. Is there a central Bar Code HQ hidden inside a hollowed-out volcano somewhere that ensures all the bar codes on the planet are unique? I think we need to know before it’s too late.II IIIII III II IIII


  2. Yeah, you’d think there would be a finite limit of black bars of varying thickness. If you sell stuff to Music Magpie you can use a phone as a barcode scanner or type in the twelve or thirteen numbers at the bottom of the barcode which are obviously what those black lines really represent. 10 digits is a billion and 13 digits is a trillion though which covers an awful lot of different comics/Tesco own brand baked beans.


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