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How the barcode changed retailing and manufacturing

In 1948, N Joseph Woodland - a graduate student at the Drexel Institute in Philadelphia - was pondering a challenge from a local retailer: how to speed up the tedious process of checking out in his stores by automating transactions. A smart young man, Woodland - known as Joseph - had worked on the Manhattan Project during the War, and had designed a better system for playing elevator music. But he was stumped. Then, sitting on Miami Beach while visiting his parents, his fingertips idly combing through the sand, a thought struck him. Just like Morse code used dots and dashes to convey a message, he could use thin lines and thick lines to encode information.

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