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Bar code’s co-inventor N. Joseph Woodland dies, 91



Published: Thu, December 13, 2012 @ 12:57 p.m.

Bar code’s co-inventor N. Joseph Woodland dies, 91

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The co-inventor of the bar code that labels nearly every product in stores has died. Norman Joseph Woodland was 91.

Woodland’s death was confirmed today by his daughter, Susan Woodland of New York City. She said he died Sunday in Edgewater, N.J., from the effects of Alzheimer’s disease and complications of advanced age.

Woodland and Robert Silver were students at Philadelphia’s Drexel University when Silver overheard a grocery-store executive asking an administrator to support research on how product information could be captured at checkout.

The pair earned a patent in 1951 with Woodland’s idea to create a shape of concentric circles. The technology didn’t catch on until the 1970s, when Woodland’s employer IBM promoted a rectangular barcode that was adopted as the standard.


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