The media announced the death of Mr. Normand Joseph Woodland, inventor of the barcode, at his home in New Jersey, the United States, on December 9, 2012. Since 1984, the year IMS introduced the first barcode printing systems to Quebec, Mr. Woodland’s invention was the central pillar of our company and our product identification offer.
The history of the invention of the barcode is as interesting as most of these stories can be. Mr. Woodland, still a student, wanted to help a grocer who was complaining that the details of transactions at the cash register were not stored anywhere. The inventor felt that a code was needed.
Woodland, a former scout who knew Morse code, eventually transformed the points and dashes into lines of varying thicknesses. He then designed a machine that could read these barcodes, a fascinating challenge for someone who had been planning to become a mechanical engineer.
Since, the invention has made progress over the years, like with any form of technology. Barcode scanners are now wireless and handheld. This is a far cry from the industrial sized prototype that required a 500 watt light bulb!
Rest in peace, Mr. Woodland! Your legacy is in good hands and we will continue to do it justice.