Road to the UPC
Companies of all sizes and capabilities had complete or parts of symbols to propose: The Symbol Selection Committee actively solicited groups to propose symbols. The committee met and gave full consideration to each of them.
NCR was not initially supportive of the project with their dominant position in the industry and their inventory of electromechanical products. Later they did propose a black, white and green symbology, which would have been difficult for grocery manufacturers to implement unless their packaging already included green.
proposed a circular symbol referenced in the
Woodland-Silver patent, It is inherently
omnidirectional so that packages would not need
to be oriented at the checkout and it was usable
by less expensive single line scan patterns, but
only scans that go through the center captured
all the data and as the amount of information to
be captured increased the area required on the
packaging increased. But RCA's early entrance
into this industry activity and their use of the
symbol in a live store checkout test for more
than a year at a Kroger Store in Cincinnati Ohio
made them a
IBM proposed a delta distance linear barcode that easily scanned accurately. Although it looks like the scanner has to cross all the bars in a single pass, several observations changed that. First George Laurer realized that if you shine a light beam at two mirrors which are at 90 degrees to each other it forms an X pattern and you can lay the linear symbol in it so that one beam or the other always crosses half of all the bars. But he also found that construction of each character could be designed so there would be seven modules broken into two light fields and two dark fields. That creates 10 designs with an odd number of dark modules and 10 complementary designs with an even number of dark modules. Make each side of the symbol have a common parity and the scanner only has to see half the symbol at a time. The computer can put the left half with the right half and the system as a whole is omnidirectional but easier to hold print tolerances and more numbers in the code don't increase the package real estate as much.
the Sewing machine, calculator and computing
company proposed a directional bar code.
and Zellweger, a European company, both
recognized that a half circle contained the same
encoded information without redundancy, but
requiring half the packaging real estate. They
combined their support in a single proposal in
hopes of unseating the lead of the favored
circular bar code.
Pitney Bowes Alpex was
also interested and proposed their own symbol.
They had interest in expanding into the cash
register market with a system they called Spice.
of Houston Texas proposed a technology that would be
both human and machine readable but not
additional organizations: Resources for Lawyers
and Charecogn (symbol pictured on the right) had
little known capability for developing a
complete system and it concerned the Symbol
Selection Committee that they were mostly
interested in proposing something to earn
licensing revenues from the industry.
Anker Werke AG, maker of the Anker Cash Register, and the Plessy Corporation teamed up to make a barcode proposal that was linear but did not particularily stand out.
Others who participated included Texas Instruments, TRW, Dymo, Burroughs, Quick Count,, Olivetti, and HPC.