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Can You Imagine Life Without the Barcode?

May 17, 2017

There’s a keystone in every great invention.

Living in a world that’s surrounded by technology, some call it the “Information Age” or the “Technology Era,” all industries have the opportunity to stand on an even playing field. Two of the biggest industries that reap the benefits of our ever-growing tech-time is data and electronics.

A Game Changer for Data

The creation of barcoding was a masterpiece, merging industries like electronics and shopping.  The invention ushered in new systems for inventory, cashiering, and so on and so forth. But do you know how the barcode became an inventory game changer?

The Revolutionary Idea

In 1948 the president of an unknown food chain was talking to Drexel University’s president about a system that would conveniently collect product information automatically at checkout. Bernard Silver, a graduate student at the time, overheard their conversation, and with friend Norman Woodward, developed the first barcode and electronic reader of printed data through sensors, a pattern of wide and narrow lines, sound, and light. (Challoner, 687).

Commercial Implementation

In 1966 the barcodes and scanner systems were ready for rollout. The first store to use it was a Kroger in Cincinnati. The barcodes were a set of concentric circular bars. Because of problems, it was determined that a standard coding scheme be developed that was open to all equipment manufacturers for use throughout the food industry.

June 1974 was the beginning of barcode use as we know it today. That’s when the NCR Corp. installed the first UPC scanner in a Marsh’s supermarket in Troy, Ohio. The first item scanned was a pack of Wrigley's Juicy Fruit chewing gum. This story announced the new systems and, to this day, captures the start of a new electronic age for data capture. The rest is history.

Keystone Continues to Advance with Electronics

We’ve been involved in electronic developments like the barcode for over 65 years. Today, we continue to contribute technological advances, components, and parts for other and many electronic products.

At our new facility, part of our latest expansion project, is the use of state-of-the-art barcode labels for data, organization, and inventory control. Because we support OEMs worldwide, we know how important it is to stay abreast of innovations like these.

We provide LED lens caps, machine panel hardware,  multi-purpose hardware, standoffs and spacers, and fan guards that are used in scanners and readers. We serve high-tech consumer markets like information technology, automation and robotics, industrial production, automotive and marine, aerospace, defense, telecommunications, medical, surgical, energy, and more. 

So the next time you’re shopping or scanning remember the impact of the barcode and know that Keystone helps make the magic happen.