If you've done any Googling this morning, you probably know today is the 57th anniversary of the first bar code patent.
On October 7, 1952, inventors Norman Woodland and Bernard Silver were granted the first patent for their invention. The only difference between the bar code we know today and the one Woodland and Silver invented was that it was comprised of a series of concentric circles, not the 59 black-and-white vertical lines synonymous with the current design.
As long as we're on the subject, let's take a look back at a couple Mad Magazine issues that drew attention to the UPC symbol they were forced to stick on the cover, starting in 1978:
[Images courtesy of Doug Gilford's Mad Cover Site.]
Other Creative UPC Uses
The Japanese firm D-Barcode has been adding a little life to the plain old UPC symbols. For lots more examples, check out this cool round-up of bar codes Dark Roasted Blend put together last year.
The Science Behind Bar Codes
And if you've ever wondered how bar codes work, our friends over at HowStuffWorks have a detailed look.