June 26, 1974 is the date it first happened. In a store in Troy, Ohio a man purchased a pack of Wrigley's gum. The clerk simply swiped the gum and boop the price registered. The use of the bar code for the first time took place 45 years ago today.

Actually someone had developed a type of code way back in 1952. It was round and the ink tended to smear. One of the problems was the cost of the scanner that read the code. It just wasn't practical.  George Laurer who worked for IBM redesigned the bar code into the more familiar rectangular shape. This could hold more data and it didn't smear like the round one. Today some 5 billion items are bar coded around the world each year.

A lot of folks don't remember the old cash register. I worked one in a drug store back in the 70's. If you made a mistake you had to print out the errored one and call a manager who would save the slip so it could be reconciled by the bookkeeper the next day. As far as paying for a purchase with a credit card or debit card, I didn't have to worry about that back then. It was cash or check. Oh yes, you had to know how to make change in your head. I wonder how many can or should I say, cannot do that today.

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