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Norman Joseph Woodland
Birth: Sep. 6, 1921
Atlantic City
Atlantic County
New Jersey, USA
Death: Dec. 9, 2012
Edgewater
Bergen County
New Jersey, USA

Inventor. He is best known as one of the inventors of the rectangular barcode, an optical machine-readable representation of data that is related to the object to which it is attached. After graduating from high school, he entered military service during World War II where he worked as a technical assistant with the Manhattan Project in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. After World War II, he attended Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering in 1947 and worked as a lecturer there until 1949. A fellow graduate student, Bernard Silver, became interested in capturing product information automatically at a checkout stand. He mentioned it to Woodland and after formulating some preliminary ideas, he was convinced they could accomplish the task. Knowing how Morse code operates with its series of dots and dashes, he came up with the concept of a two-dimensional, linear Morse code. He and Silver applied for a patent of this concept in 1949 and it was approved in 1952. At that time Woodland was employed by IBM and he and Silver wanted IBM to develop the technology, but it was not commercially feasible. Instead, they sold the patent to Philco in 1952 for $15,000, who in turn sold it TO RCA. In 1969, RCA approached the National Association of Food Chains with the idea and a US Supermarket ad hoc Committee on a Uniform Grocery Product Code was formed. In 1971, IBM became involved and they transferred Woodland to their research facility in Raleigh, North Carolina, where he played a key role in the development of most important version of this technology, called the Universal Product Code, which beat out RCA in a competition. The very first item scanned by using this new method was a pack of chewing gum in an supermarket in Troy, Ohio, in June 1974. The barcode now labels nearly every product in stores and it has boosted productivity in nearly every sector of commerce worldwide. In 1992, he was awarded the National Medal of Technology by President George H.W. Bush at the White House for his achievements in barcode technology. In 1998, he received an honorary degree from Drexel University and in 2011, he was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. He died from complications of Alzheimer's disease. (bio by: William Bjornstad) 
 
Burial:
Unknown
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: William Bjornstad
Record added: Dec 14, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 102160279
Norman Joseph Woodland
Added by: Ruggero
 
Norman Joseph Woodland
Added by: William Bjornstad
 
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