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It started on a beach...

The history of the barcode – and GS1 – goes way back to Florida in 1948

Norman Joseph Woodland drew the world’s first barcode in the sand on a beach in Florida in 1948. And this first barcode changed everything.

From the first live barcode scan of a pack of Wrigley’s gum at a Marsh supermarket in Ohio in 1974, to today’s world where the barcode still plays a key role in streamlining retail, foodservice, healthcare, online marketplaces and many other sectors.

It’s a story that’s testimony to the remarkable innovations that can happen when industry leaders work together. And thanks to new technologies and applications, the impact of the barcode – and GS1 standards – will continue to be felt in more ways and sectors.

Take a look at the history of GS1 with our interactive timeline… we’ve come a long since Norman had his inspirational idea.


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