Subscribe in a reader
Subscribe to Philadelphia Tech News by Email
Norman Joseph Woodland, who co-invented the bar code while he was a graduate student at Drexel University, died on December 9 in Edgewater, NJ, at the age of 91, the New York Times reported today.
Woodland and Bernard Silver developed the bar code at Drexel in the late 1940's and received a patent on it in 1952. However, the now-ubiquitous technology was not implemented in the supermarket industry until 1974.
I wrote about Woodland and Silver on the 60th anniversary of the issuance of the patent two months ago.
Woodland ended up working up at IBM, where he had a role in commercializing the bar code, retiring in 1987. Silver died in 1963.
While the patent itself was sought after and was acquired by Philco and later sold to
RCA, my sense is that it wasn't terribly lucrative for the co-inventors.