London: Barcode, distinctive black-and-white stripes that provide details relating to an object you purchase, has turned 60.
There are more than five million individual barcodes in use around the world, according to regulator GS1 UK.
Although barcodes were filed in the US on October 7, 1952, they did not make their first appearance in a US shop until 1974 - because the laser technology used to read them did not exist, the 'BBC News' reported.
Barcode is an optical machine-readable representation of data relating to the object to which it is attached.
The first item to be scanned by a barcode was a packet of chewing gum in an Ohio supermarket in 1974, the report said.
However, the black-and-white stripes did not get a universal welcome, with some wine manufacturers refusing to incorporate barcodes onto their labels for aesthetic reasons.
Now it occasionally doubles as body art, with US singer Pink among those who sport a barcode tattoo.
"Barcodes are an icon and rightly so - we're quite pleased about it," said Gary Lynch, chief executive of GS1 UK.
First Published: Sunday, October 07, 2012, 17:53